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Play it Safe this Grain Harvest with the Aurora Fire Behaviour Calculator

News release
22 November 2022
Play it Safe this Grain Harvest with the Aurora Fire Behaviour Calculator
Image courtesy of Zoe Starkey

Grain growers in the Murraylands and Riverland are being urged to familiarise themselves with an interim fire behaviour risk calculator in the lead up to harvest this year.

The Aurora Fire Behaviour Calculator produces a Grasslands Fire Behaviour Index (GFBI) which uses local temperature, humidity and wind speed information to produce a fire danger risk rating. Harvest operations must cease when the Grasslands Fire Behaviour Index rating reaches 40.

Jeremy Nelson, a Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer with the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, said that it was important for growers to ensure that harvest operations are carried out in line with the Grasslands Fire Behaviour Index generated by the Aurora Fire Behaviour Calculator this harvest.

“It is essential that grain growers, employees and contractors are aware of the recent revision of the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice (GHCoP). The Aurora calculator has been developed to provide localised estimations of grassland fire risk. This platform should be regularly consulted to make sure that harvest operations are only undertaken when the Grasslands Fire Danger Index is below 40”.

“The calculator is easy to use and can be saved as on the home screen of your smart phone for quick and easy access”

“The Aurora system has been endorsed by the CFS and the new Grain Harvesting Code of Practice as a reliable means to rate conditions against fire risk during harvest periods,” he added.

The former Grasslands Fire Danger Index (GFDI) has now been phased out in favour of the new Grasslands Fire Behaviour Index (GFBI). A Grain Harvesting Operations Table is still in development and will use a similar table to the earlier Grain Harvesting Code of Practice.

In the meantime, farmers and contractors will need to use the Aurora system and adhere to the GFBI ratings.

People seeking more information about the use of Aurora can refer to the CFS website’s grain harvesting section. Growers using data from the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board’s weather station network can follow the notifications under the ‘harvest’ tab for each station or contact Jeremy Nelson for support on 0439 591 826.

Online resources for more information:

Aurora Fire Behaviours Calculator website
Aurora Calculator factsheet
Grain Harvesting Code of Practice