NOBURN Citizen Science Project

forest during day

NOBURN is the first of its kind citizen science project involving Australian communities in data collection and predictive modelling of bushfires, garnering interest in the science behind bushfires and creating awareness of the fire-susceptibility of our forests.


In the 2019-20 fire season, over 10 million hectares of forest burnt and over 2000 homes were destroyed. The cost to Australia was estimated to run into the billions and has had a devastating impact on the agriculture, forestry and tourism industries.

There are very limited resources currently available to support accurate prediction and effective response to large-scale fire events. For bushfire researchers, it is very difficult to collect continuous data on the susceptibility of forests to fire across Australia.

This citizen science project involves the design and development of NOBURN, which stands for ‘National Bushfire Resilience Network’. NOBURN is a data-collection tool to capture evidence of fire-susceptibility of our forests by citizen scientists, hikers, foresters, schools and the community and provides information on the flammability of forests based on their structure, quantity, density and dryness of forest fuels. As a result of data and images recorded through the app by its users and citizen scientists, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will predict the probability, severity and burn area of potential bushfires by finding patterns between forest fuels, satellite images, elevation and weather data based on historic fire events.

Every day of the year across the country, people are in the forest for work, recreation, or just live there. And so, it is of the greatest benefit to those people to protect their environment and warn them in case catastrophic bushfires would occur. NOBURN will do exactly that and assist with national disaster resilience, preparedness and response to bushfires.

Get Involved!

NOBURN will be launched in 2022 – Participation will be open to all Australian residents. The Research Team at the University of the Sunshine Coast encourages the engagement of Citizen Scientists in the design, development, testing and implementation of the NOBURN app, which they will use to collect data throughout the life of the project. Once developed, participants can download the NOBURN app and use it during their next forest visit to assist the Research Team with the collection of data. All instructions will be provided in the app.

MIE Community

MIE Community is partnering with the NOBURN Research Team to hold a community education and testing day for the app. Details will be released shortly. For more information Contact Mandy Finch Email

In 2023 NOBURN will also be an extended part of our MIE School Secondary program – MIE Citizen Science. In 5 x 70min curriculum aligned lessons, this program teaches students the meaning of citizen science, science inquiry, science methodology and science communication with hands on activities and data collection. The extension of this program includes presentations by USC Research Teams and students being involved in the live data collection for the NOBURN app.

Video to be added shortly


View the short video of the NOBURN research team.
For more information Contact Sam Van Holsbeeck