UAV Based Spatiotemporal Analysis of the 2019–2020 New South Wales Bushfires

Fahim Ullah, Sara Imran Khan, Hafiz Suliman Munawar, Zakria Qadir, Siddra Qayyum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Bushfires have been a key concern for countries such as Australia for a long time. These must be mitigated to eradicate the associated harmful effects on the climate and to have a sustainable and healthy environment for wildlife. The current study investigates the 2019–2020 bushfires in New South Wales (NSW) Australia. The bush fires are mapped using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, the hotpots are monitored, and damage is assessed. Further, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)-based bushfire mitigation framework is presented where the bushfires can be mapped and monitored instantly using UAV swarms. For the GIS and remote sensing, datasets of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and VIIRS fire data products are used, whereas the paths of UAVs are optimized using the Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm. The mapping results of 2019–2020 NSW bushfires show that 50% of the national parks of NSW were impacted by the fires, resulting in damage to 2.5 million hectares of land. The fires are highly clustered towards the north and southeastern cities of NSW and its border region with Victoria. The hotspots are in the Deua, Kosciu Sako, Wollemi, and Yengo National Parks. The current study is the first step towards addressing a key issue of bushfire disasters, in the Australian context, that can be adopted by its Rural Fire Service (RFS), before the next fire season, to instantly map, assess, and subsequently mitigate the bushfire disasters. This will help move towards a smart and sustainable environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10207
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


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