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Can we predict bushfires from space?—Dr Marta Yebra, ANU

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Published on Mar 27, 2017

Australia’s forests are among the most fire-prone in the world and satellite monitoring could greatly help to predict and mitigate bushfires before they occur. This space-based monitoring will be one step closer thanks to upcoming research from Dr Marta Yebra of the Australian National University.

Dr Yebra is one of the first two recipients of the Academy’s Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award which provides up to $20,000 to support early-career researchers working on the conservation of Australia’s flora and fauna, ecologically sustainable use of resources, protection of the environment and ecosystem services.

Marta will use her Max Day Award funding to conduct experiments at the National Arboretum Canberra to determine the moisture content of Australia’s native forests.

Moisture content is particularly important to predicting bushfires on a large scale as it affects the likelihood of ignition occurring, as well as the severity and spread of the fire. This real-world data will be incorporated into new models that can be used to predict bushfires.

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