Smartphone apps take on bushfires

RURAL residents and farmers are being encouraged to download smartphone apps in the lead-up to bushfire season.

The Country Fire Authority FireReady app notifies users of fire dangers in their area.

It also allows photographing of bushfire activity, which is then sent to authorities with GPS coordinates and a time stamp.

CFA digital media manager Martin Anderson said it was hoped “this information will overhaul the traditional approach to information dissemination”.

Previously the CFA would publish fire warnings gathered by 400 trained officers roaming the state.

The app has been downloaded 70,000 times since its release last year.

The Victorian government has also released a bushfire app, to help tackle the spread of weeds after the Black Saturday bushfires.

Victorian Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith said the free app would give the community important information on weed identification and control.

The app gives access to a catalogue and map of local weeds, and outlines treatment and control methods for each weed.

Users can take a photo of a weed and submit it to a map to notify other users of its location.

It is the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) first app.

“This app is a new medium for DSE that will reach a whole new audience and show the community what can be done with new technology,” Mr Smith said.

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