Quantifying bushfire penetration into urban areas in Australia

Keping Chen*, John McAneney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The extent and trajectory of bushfire penetration at the bushland-urban interface are quantified using data from major historical fires in Australia. We find that the maximum distance at which homes are destroyed is typically less than 700 m. The probability of home destruction emerges as a simple linear and decreasing function of distance from the bushland-urban boundary but with a variable slope that presumably depends upon fire regime and human intervention. The collective data suggest that the probability of home destruction at the forest edge is around 60%. Spatial patterns of destroyed homes display significant neighbourhood clustering. Our results provide revealing spatial evidence for estimating fire risk to properties and suggest an ember-attack model.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL12212
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2004


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