Bushfire ignition risk analysis for power lines

Fire is a natural part of the environment in many countries. Wild fires or bushfires are typically associated with high temperatures, low humidity, strong winds and a high fuel load. They become catastrophic when all these conditions occur in combination.

Five of the 15 fires the 2009 'Black Saturday' bushfires in Victoria, Australia, were associated with the failure of electricity assets and the subsequent Royal Commission commented that:

Although the proportion of fires that are caused by electricity infrastructure is low… on days of extreme fire danger the percentage of fires linked to electrical assets can rise dramatically. Thus, electricity-caused fires are most likely to occur when the risk of a fire getting out of control and having deadly consequences is greatest.

An electricity transmission company therefore commissioned Broadleaf to develop a risk analysis methodology and model to provide it with a sound basis for decisions on the management of these risks.

The approach developed is, we believe, unique and was enthusiastically received when it was presented to the company’s executive team this week. The company will now use it to:

  • Help prioritise maintenance and protection strategies
  • Focus inspections and vegetation management
  • Provide faster incident detection and improve the ease and speed of suppression of any small fires that might escalate
  • To answer concerns within the community, government and regulators that might arise from events elsewhere.