Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) metadata


Title Gridded climatological data of FFDI


Custodian Bureau of Meteorology
Jurisdiction Australia


Abstract The grids show long-term average fire weather conditions over the Australian region in the form of two-dimensional array data, based on the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). The data are based on daily observations primarily from the Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP) throughout the period 1950 to 2016. See LINEAGE below for more information.
Search Word(s) Gridded, climate, extremes, bushfire, fire weather
Geographic Extent Names(s) Australia
General Category Gridded fire weather climatology, including data for mean FFDI, number of days that FFDI > 90th percentile FFDI for each month, as well as number of days that FFDI > 50 for each month
General Custodian Jurisdiction Australian Government
Geographic Extent Polygon Not applicable
Geographic Bounding Box See below
North Bounding Latitude -10.00
South Bounding Latitude -45.50
West Bounding Longitude 112.00
East Bounding Longitude 156.25

Data Currency

Beginning Date 1950
Ending Date 2016

Dataset Status

Progress Completed
Maintenance and
Update frequency
Infrequent maintenance with potential for updated future versions


Stored Data Format NetCDF
Arc/InfoTM grids - all Australia
Available Format Type ASCII row major, netCDF
Use limitations Use of these data should be acknowledged to the Bureau of Meteorology. These products are made available under the Bureau's default terms of use (noted at If you wish to use the material outside of the Bureau's default terms of use then you must contact us for a licence agreement at
Other Constraint Please refer to for disclaimer details

Data Quality


These fire weather climatology data products were produced based on daily values of the FFDI from 1950 to 2016, as detailed in the reference list below for Dowdy [2018]. Higher values of FFDI represent more dangerous fire weather conditions: for example, FFDI above 50 is classed as 'Severe'.

The data available here include gridded information for the

  • mean daily FFDI value
  • daily FFDI value (from 1967 2018)
  • number of days that FFDI is > 90th percentile for each month
  • number of days that FFDI is higher than 50 for each month

All of those quantities are calculated individually for each grid location.

The FFDI is calculated from input variables of temperature, relative humidity and wind speed on a given day, as well as a number representing fuel availability called the Drought Factor. The Drought Factor is based on the accumulated soil moisture deficit, calculated here using the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, KBDI [Keetch and Byram 1968]. The input variables for calculating the FFDI values consist primarily of a gridded analysis of observations from the Australian Water Availability Project, AWAP [Jones et al. 2009], with a grid of 0.05° in both latitude and longitude throughout Australia. This includes daily maximum temperatures, as well as vapour pressure at 1500 Local Time (used here together with temperature to calculate relative humidity near the time of maximum temperature) and daily-accumulated precipitation totals for the 24-hour period to 0900 Local Time each day. NCEP/NCAR reanalysis [Kalnay et al. 1996] 6-hourly data are used for surface wind speeds, with the 0600 UT value used here (representing mid-afternoon wind speeds over the longitude range spanned by Australia). The reanalysis wind fields were bilinearly interpolated to the AWAP grid, with bias correction subsequently applied to provide a better match to the NWP-based 0600 UT value of the 10-minute average wind speeds used operationally by BoM for issuing forecasts of the FFDI.

The FFDI dataset is designed to be used for climatological applications such as in relation to broad-scale temporal and spatial variations in fire weather conditions throughout Australia. This provides a spatially continuous and long-term observations-based dataset, intended for use in producing climatological guidance information for regions throughout Australia, noting that the 67-year period of data used for this study allows a considerable degree of confidence in the features apparent in these climatologies. Further information is available in the publication Dowdy [2018], including details on the influence of the El NiƱo/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), as well as seasonal variations and long-term trends in fire weather conditions throughout Australia. In addition, information on future projected changes in bushfire conditions based on the FFDI is also available, as detailed in the publication Dowdy et al. [2019].


  • Dowdy, A.J., Ye, H., Pepler, A., Thatcher, M., Osbrough, S.L., Evans, J.P., Di Virgilio, G. and McCarthy, N., (2019): Future changes in extreme weather and pyroconvection risk factors for Australian wildfires. Scientific Reports, 9, 1-11,
  • Dowdy, A. J. (2018): Climatological Variability of Fire Weather in Australia. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0167.1.
  • Jones, D., W. Wang, and R. Fawcett (2009): High-quality spatial climate datasets for Australia. Aust. Meteorol. Mag., 58, 233-248.
  • Keetch, J. J., and G. M. Byram (1968): A drought index for forest fire control. Res. Pap. SE-38. Asheville, NC: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.
  • Kalnay, E., M. Kanamitsu, R. Kistler, W. Collins, D. Deaven, L. Gandin, M. Iredell, S. Saha, G. White, J. Woollen, and Y. Zhu (1996): The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 77(3), 437-471.
Attribute Accuracy Not applicable
Logical Consistency Not applicable
Completeness No missing data

Contact Information

Contact Organisation Bureau of Meteorology
Contact Position Climate Data Services
Mail Address PO BOX 1289, Melbourne 3001, Australia
State Victoria
Country Australia
Postcode 3001
Telephone (03) 9669 4082
Facsimile (03) 9669 4515
Electronic Mail

Metadata date

Metadata date 2019