Burn Year

Dataset Number1268
Dataset TitleBurn Year
CustodianData Authority: Department for Environment and Water
Joint Custodian: Department for Environment and Water
Data Provider: Department for Environment and Water


DescriptionThis dataset provides fire frequency mapping for many major bush fires that have burnt within South Australia. It also provides fire frequency 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). This dataset is derived from fire history mapping. Burns are ordered most recent to oldest. Items include LASTFIRE year, BURNS and FIREDATE, FIREYEAR and DATERELIABILITY for each burn eg. BURN1_FIREDATE, BURN1_FIREYEAR ....BURN1_DATERELIABILITY. The maximum number of burns is 10.
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

Lineage Fire 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 Accuracy The 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 Updated01-DEC-2020
Update FrequencyAs required
Maintenance MethodFire History updates to be completed following each fire season. Historical fire scars are mapped on a project basis as park/region is required. Lastfire, burns and burn years are updated when Fire History is updated.
LicenseingCC BY (Attribution)


TableNameField AliasData TypeDescription
Firemgt.BurnYearLASTFIRELASTFIREIntegerYear of the most recent fire. May represent fire season e.g 1992 = 1992/1993 fire season or calender year e.g. 1992 = Jan - Dec 1992
Firemgt.BurnYearBURNSBURNSIntegerNumber of burns for a given area mapped. ASSUMES only 1 burn per year.
Firemgt.BurnYearBURN1_FIREDATEBURN1_FIREDATEIntegerDate of the most recent first burn.
Firemgt.BurnYearBURN1_FIREYEARBURN1_FIREYEARIntegerYear of first most recent first burn.

Contact Information

OrganisationDepartment for Environment and Water
Postal AddressGPO Box 1047

SA 5001