A new and nationally consistent bushfire danger rating system started across Australia on 1 September 2022, providing clearer and more accurate information to communities at risk of bushfire.
The Australian Fire Danger Rating System (ADFRS) brings together the latest science and knowledge of fire behaviour, and is supported by extensive community research. It is the most significant change to the fire danger rating system in more than 50 years.
Under the previous system, fire danger ratings were based on only bush and grass. The new system uses eight different types of vegetation, which have been mapped across the entire country. The display of daily ratings has been simplified to use four levels of fire danger rating, with simple actions for the community to take at each level.
Fire danger ratings are used to communicate the consequences of a fire, if one was to start. On days when there is minimal risk, ‘No rating’ will be used.
One of Australia’s largest social research projects was undertaken during the development of the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) to inform its design. The new system delivers clearer and – for the first time – nationally consistent fire danger ratings.
Fire danger ratings do not indicate the chance of a bushfire starting. Rather, they describe the level of danger a community could face should a bushfire start. The AFDRS calculates fire danger at a finer geographic scale than ever before.
It considers eight different vegetation types to better represent the diverse landscapes of Australia and how they respond to fire weather conditions.
Using the AFDRS, fire danger ratings are determined by the Fire Behaviour Index – a simple numerical scale that can be used consistently across Australia. The Fire Behaviour Index runs from 0 to 100 and beyond, with increasingly high values to indicate dangerous fire behaviour and therefore fire danger risk.
The AFDRS has been designed to be updatable so that the system can take advantage of improving science, data and information into the future – adapting with our growing understanding of bushfire.
The AFDRS is a project of national significance developed collaboratively by all states and territories, and the Australian Government.
More information about the AFDRS is available online at: www.firedangerratings.com.au