Black Summer from Space
The harrowing 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season, termed “Black Summer”, started in June 2019 and has recently come to an end. It was the largest bushfire season in Australia with more than 10 million hectares, 3000 homes and 7000 outbuildings having being destroyed across the continent.
Post-fire, we are now able to visually see and analyse the full extent of these bushfires from space. Images of the small town, Blackheath, Mount Wilson and Mogo, in rural New South Wales were captured in winter 2019 and late summer 2020 and clearly demonstrate the extent to which the fires effected these communities and the surrounding environment. These stark changes clearly highlight how bushfire recovery is still an ongoing issue.
Very-high resolution satellite imagery can be a powerful tool for monitoring the impact of environmental disasters. In this particular case, we have utilised 1.5m imagery which was captured pre and post fire. By applying remote sensing techniques, this multispectral satellite imagery provides an opportunity to investigate fire behaviour, drought, fire intensity and land management. At this resolution, imagery can offer evidence-based information for bushfire prevention and recovery, including; bushfire management planning, determining current and future fuel loads, verifying fire scars, infrastructure damage assessment and mapping vegetation changes.
Whether it be bushfire, cyclone, earthquake or flood, earth observation is a crucial element in determining the extent of the damage a crisis may cause. Satellite imagery augments a user’s ability to strengthen public safety, identify risks, coordinate resources and shape the response to an emergency. Geospatial Intelligence’s imagery and geospatial analysis can contribute to formulating an emergency action plan and evacuation routes, or implementing a strategy to increase resilience against unexpected disasters.