FAME – a new tool supporting bushfire management

Protecting the environment and maintaining the resilience of natural ecosystems are key bushfire management goals in Victoria. To do these things, we need robust, scientifically-based information to predict the likely impact of bushfires and fuel management activities on populations of plants and animals. The diversity of ecosystems and species across Victoria has hampered our best efforts to gather this information in the past. Thankfully, scientists at the Arthur Rylah Institute, together with the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, have developed the Fire Analysis Module for Ecological values (FAME), that brings together a vast amount of information about the effects of fire on biodiversity to help fire planners make decisions based on the best-available science.

Just as we use Phoenix RapidFire to determine the risk of fire to human life and property, we can now use FAME to determine the risk of fire to the environment, leading us to dub FAME ‘the Phoenix for biodiversity’. We can use FAME to estimate the effects of past fires and the effects of future bushfires and planned burning on animals and ecosystem resilience. This allows us to compare the likely impacts of various fire management scenarios on individual species, so we can better consider ecological values when making fire-management decisions.

FAME was awarded The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ (INFORMS’) Decisions Analysis Practice Award. The award is a highly prestigious international award sponsored jointly by the Decision Analysis Society and the Society of Decision Professionals. It is given annually to the best decision analysis application as judged by a panel of members of both societies. INFORMS is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to and promoting best practices and advances in operations research, management science and analytics to improve operational processes, decision making and outcomes.

Page last updated: 23/12/20