Research shows Australia becoming hotter and drier and that means more frequent and more intense bushfires. The Riverina is no stranger to destructive fires and each summer sees the community on high alert.

As with any emergency, early detection plays a crucial role in effective strategic response and management of bushfires.

The CSIRO and the Bushfire CRC trialled new bushfire detection technology in the Tumut region with great success – 98 percent of the fires lit were detected from those first whisps of smoke.

The detection units are mounted on existing infrastructure and scan the full 360 degree landscape every four to eight minutes, with a range of about 40km. The sensors don’t detect the actual fire, but can read the differences in more than 16-thousand shades of grey. They are so sophisticated they can tell the difference between fog, mist, cloud and bushfire smoke.

Now there’s hope the technology will be expanded across many bushfire-prone areas, with federal government support being sought before the coming bushfire season begins in a few weeks.

ABC journalist Melinda Hayter spoke with Managing Director of Firewatch Australia, David Goodrich:

Published: ABC Riverina, Anne Delaney
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