[ASC-media] Media release: early warning of bushfires

JCA Media jcamedia at starclass.com.au
Wed Aug 11 22:31:49 EST 2004

Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences 2004 Media Release 

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Electronic watchdogs may soon be helping to greatly reduce the threat to life and property from bushfires, thanks to research from the University of Western Australia.

The UWA team is working on a network of infrared sensors set up along the urban-rural fringe of Australia's cities to detect bushfire activity and provide early warning to fire authorities and residents.

"The sensitivity and range of infrared sensors has been greatly improved by research at UWA," says Professor Mark Adams, of UWA (and the University of Melbourne). "These sensors have enormous potential for monitoring the heat of materials, including air, affected by bushfire."

"Marrying this technology to wireless networks and to the requirements of potential users for early warning and monitoring systems carries tremendous potential benefits."

Professor Adams is one of the keynote speakers at the Sir Mark Oliphant Conference on Converging Technologies for Agriculture and Environment, to be held at the Duxton Hotel, 328 Flinders St, Melbourne, from August 9-12.

"Ideally, the bushfire detectors will be attached to existing infrastructure such as mobile phone towers," says Professor Laurie Faraone, leader of the infrared research at UWA. 

Preliminary research suggests that the range of the monitors will be at least 10 kilometres. However, Professor Faraone says, lack of funds has prevented the team carrying out field trials.

Professor Adams says another application for the infrared sensors is to monitor deliberate burn-off operations.

"Low cost infrared sensors with a range of several hundred metres can be used around the perimeter of planned controlled fires, to reduce the labour costs of patrolling such fires."

Professor Adams will talk about the improved infrared technology at 4.00pm on Thursday August 12. 

His presentation will include research on technology developed at UWA to measure more accurately the cycling of nutrients in forest systems, including that of water between trees and water catchment areas.

More information:
Professor Mark Adams, UWA, 0438 920 645
adamsma at cyllene.uwa.edu.au
Professor Laurie Faraone, UWA, 08 6488 3104
faraone at ee.uwa.edu.au

At the conference:
c/- Duxton Hotel, Melbourne, 03 9250 1888
or Richard Gill, CRC for Microtechnology, 0417 477 244      richard.g at microtechnologycrc.com

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