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Old 13th September 2017, 12:17 AM
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Default New mapping system set to predict severity of bushfire season from space

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As the bulk of eastern and southern Australia braces for elevated fire risk this summer, a satellite monitoring system is being developed to help predict and mitigate their impact.

Australia's warmest winter on record has combined with the ninth driest winter on record to produce the increased bushfire threat.

Australian National University researcher Dr Marta Yebra is working on a space-based system to predict moisture content in forests.

"Bushfires have been part of Australian landscapes for a long time, but with climate change the fires are getting more severe and frequent," Dr Yebra said.

"With vegetation getting drier earlier in the season, there's a greater likelihood of fire."

From October, Dr Yebra will monitor eucalypts at the National Arboretum in Canberra to determine their moisture content.

"We'll send the leaves to the lab to analyse their chemical composition," she said.

"Better information about the live fuel moisture content will help fire managers to better prepare for the bushfire season."
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