Fire History

Dataset Number1159
Dataset TitleFire History
CustodianData Authority: Department for Environment and Water
Joint Custodian: Department for Environment and Water
Data Provider: Department for Environment and Water


DescriptionThis dataset provides state-wide fire scar mapping for major bushfires that have occurred within South Australia. It also provides fire scar mapping for prescribed burning activities that have occurred on land managed by the State Government Agencies (Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Forestry SA and SA Water). Major fires are captured across private and public lands, but this dataset should not be considered to be a complete fire history and varies across reserves and regions.
UsageCan be used for 1. Bushfire management planning purposes for bushfire suppression, fire regime management and for ecological fire management. 2. Bushfire threat and risk analysis. 3. Bushfire suppression during an incident to assist with incident predictions and planning.

Data Quality

LineageFire history spatial data has been captured using varying capture techniques and sources. Fire history can be captured through digitising from different imagery sources such as aerial photography and satellite imagery. Sources also include GPS, aerial operations during a bushfire, mud maps, scientific fire reports, agency plan maps and other spatial datasets as a reference. Aerial photography includes colour infra-red, true colour and historical black and white aerial photography. Satellite imagery can include the Landsat series, SPOT series, MODIS series and other modern higher resolution sensors. Imagery may be orthorectified or georeferenced and the scale of the data capture can vary. Standard imagery analysis techniques such as a Normalized Burn Ratio using the red and near infra-red bands, unsupervised image classification or band combinations to highlight burnt areas are also applied. The accuracy requirements of a fire scar will vary depending on the region. Fire scars in the southern agricultural areas of South Australia are mapped more accurately than fires in the pastoral regions. The spatial accuracy of fire scars may be improved with the availability of better imagery.
Completeness*FIRE HISTORY MAY BE INCOMPLETE*. Not all fires have been mapped for any given reserve or region. This creation of this dataset commenced in 1986 and focussed primarily on historical major bushfires in the southern agricultural areas and in national parks. In subsequent years this was extended to include all major bushfires. More recently a landscape approach has been used to map fire history outside of protected areas and extended to include the pastoral and remote areas of the state. This dataset includes prescribed burning by the major government agency land holders. Fire boundaries captured by the SACFS Air Operations post bushfire incident are is also included. The dataset has been periodically improved through the recapture and validation of fire history through the availability of updated imagery.
Positional AccuracyThe positional accuracy of the fire scars can vary and is dependent on the source(s) from which the fire scar is derived from and the scale at which they are captured. Fire scars generally have complex geometry and many unburnt islands that may not be captured. There are 4 main source(s) used in the capture process with a degree of generalisation. 1. Aerial and satellite imagery - Relies on a GIS analyst's interpretation to distinguish between burnt and unburnt vegetation with fire scars displaying a specific reflectance in the bands of multispectral images. Colour/Infra-red orthorectified imagery may be acquired specifically to map a fire scar (usually large, destructive fires) to delineate accurately. Many fire scars are digitised from georeferenced Landsat scenes. Image analysis techniques may have also been applied to assist in the interpretation. Interpretation can be more difficult for fires of low intensity, where black and white aerial photography is used and where there is a long period of time between the fire and the imagery acquisition date. Historical imagery was captured at various scales and will reflect on the positional accuracy of any derived scar. The length of time a scar remains visible will depend on the vegetation type also with grassland typically displaying rapid regrowth. 2. GPS - Fire scars captured from mobile GPS can have varying levels of accuracy depending the platform the GPS was used on. GPS is used on rotary wing (helicopters) and fixed wing (aeroplanes) by the SACFS Air operations unit to capture bushfire boundaries during an incident. There will be a degree of generalisation during the capture process. The fire scar is added post incident. Smaller fire scars that have been walked using a GPS will have a higher level of accuracy. 3. Mud maps - are essentially hand drawn paper maps that estimate the boundary of a fire scar and have low positional accuracy.4. Other Spatial Datasets as a reference are used to define the boundaries.

Geographic Extent

Extent NameSouth Australia
Min Easting or Longitude129
Min Northing or Latitude-38.25
Max Easting or Longitude141
Max Northing or Latitude-26

Dataset Status

Initially Acquired01-JAN-1986
Last Updated10-January-2021
Update FrequencyAs required
Maintenance MethodFire History updates to be completed following each prescribed burning season / fire danger season / post major incident. Historical fire scars are mapped on an ad hoc basis as parks/regions are required.
LicenseingCC BY (Attribution)


TableNameField AliasData TypeDescription
Firemgt.FireHistoryINCIDENTNUMBER Long IntegerUnique number for each DEWNR prescribed burn or DEWNR attended bushfire incident which can be used to relate to the Fire Information Management System. The incident number will also refer to the retired Fire Reporting Database. Historical and remote fires may not have an incident number.
Firemgt.FireHistoryINCIDENTNAME textName of the bushfire or prescribed burn as reported in the Fire Information Management System or the retired Fire Reporting database. Historical or remote fires may not have an incident name.
Firemgt.FireHistoryINCIDENTTYPE textIndicates whether the fire scar was a result of a bushfire (wildfire) or prescribed burn.
Firemgt.FireHistoryFIREDATE DateThe FIREDATE generally refers to the ignition date. The firedate can be derived from the acquisition date of any imagery that was used to capture the fire scar.
Firemgt.FireHistoryFINANCIALYEAR textFinancial year in which the bushfire or prescribed burn occurred - derived from FIREDATE.
Firemgt.FireHistoryFIREYEAR short integerYear in which fire took place - derived from FIREDATE
Firemgt.FireHistorySEASON textSeason in which burn took place (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) - derived from FIREDATE.
Firemgt.FireHistoryDATERELIABILITY short integerFiredate accuracy score. Ranges from accurate to the day, month, +/- 6 months, previous 6 months, within previous 1 year, previous 2 years, previous 3 years, previous 4 years and previous 5-10 years. Where accurate information is known about the ignition date then the "datereliability" will be "day". In some cases actual firedate is unknown and imagery acquisition date from which the fire is captured is used. Where annual mapping has been undertaken the firedate will be the 31st Day of December of that year.
Firemgt.FireHistoryIMAGEINFORMATION textAerial imagery Survey number / project and date of imagery acquisition from which the fire scar is captured. For Landsat series will refer to the Path/ Row and date.
Firemgt.FireHistoryFEATURESOURCE short integerSource of mapping. This ranges from aerial photography (black/white, infra-red, colour) which may be hard copy, ortho-rectified or georeferenced, satellite imagery, GPS coordinates, mud maps or a combination of mud map and GPS.
Firemgt.FireHistoryCAPTUREMETHOD short integerMethod of data capture - may include tracing existing spatial data e.g., roads, cadastre to GPS or digitising from imagery interpretation.
Firemgt.FireHistoryCAPTURESOURCE Long IntegerSource of feature e.g., Fire: Fire Scar Mapping
Firemgt.FireHistoryCOMMENTS textAdditional comments. May include scale digitised at (e.g., Digitised@10K)SELECT 1 FROM DUAL; report details (e.g., Overton 2.3.2xxx)SELECT 1 FROM DUAL; Prescribed burn plot information (e.g., Plot H Sub plot 1)SELECT 1 FROM DUAL; MST attended. The CFS CRIIMSON incident number can also be included.
Firemgt.FireHistoryHECTARES DoubleCalulated from SHAPE.AREA

Contact Information

OrganisationDepartment for Environment and Water
Postal AddressGPO Box 1047

SA 5001