Analyzing Wildfire Risks


Analyzing Wildfire Risks

Wildfire and bushfire risk assessment

At a glance:

  • Neara enables network-wide risk exposure analysis, scenario modeling tools, 3D inspection tools, work prioritization and triaging, and operational dashboards, all in one integrated platform.
  • Engineering-grade digital twin simulates various wildfire-ignition scenarios across the network.
  • Upload, visualize, and integrate network and surrounding environment data to improve holistic wildfire risk understanding.

Built on the principles of the ISO:31000:2018 Risk Management Guidelines, Neara enables a systematic approach to wildfire-related risk assessment and risk management. The Neara Platform performs network-wide scenario analysis, enabling data-driven decisions across asset management, operations, and planning teams.

For utilities, Neara provides unparalleled understanding of network-wide risk exposure, and the tools to triage and propose solutions.

Neara enables utilities to:

  • Perform clearance analysis of conductors with respect to surrounding vegetation, buildings, and ground, under various environmental and network load scenarios. Clearance calculations account for pole deflection.
  • Automatically locate potential of conductor clashing events under various load and wind scenarios.
  • Understand precise pole capacity and conductor strain, and simulate multi-pole failure scenarios. Neara runs finite element analysis (FEA) modelling over the entire network model to simulate dynamic stresses on all network assets.
  • Centralize asset age, maintenance history, and photographs in one location, contributing to better overall understanding of assets and locations at risk of failure.
  • Overlay layers of geographic information, including bushfire zones, high-risk areas, temperature and rain forecast maps. Layered data can be incorporated into prioritization and risk intensity formulas.
  • Automatically produce prioritization and work reports based on all input data, weighted according to the utility’s own risk parameters.

The result is a holistic, accurate understanding of wildfire risk across the entire network.

How to perform wildfire risk assessment with Neara

Medium height network

1. Generate a 3D digital twin

Central to Neara is the physical network digital twin, automatically generated from existing data, including GiS, LiDAR, imagery, maps, tables and other records.

The engineering-grade 3D model of network assets forms the basis, upon which any number of complex scenarios and simulations can be run. Results are outputted at a whole-of-network scale, and can then be inspected on a per-asset basis.

2. Scenario modeling across the network

Neara enables integration of asset characteristics data and operational data for accurate risk assessment. Simulate bush fire risk under various wind, temperature, and other conditions, taking into account actual conductor blow-out and physical forces on the poles.

Some of the simulations relevant to wildfire-mitigation campaigns are:

Vegetation encroachment analysis under various network conditions

As Neara’s network model is a full physics, engineering-grade replica of the physical network, utilities can analyze encroachment under dynamic environmental and load scenarios. Neara discovers potential hazards under rare 1-in-50 year wind events, accounting for different network load scenarios and ambient temperatures. Applying probabilities and tolerances to the output enables utilities to precisely understand their level of vegetation risk.

Conductor clashing and blow-out analysis

Neara simulates conductor blow-out and clash scenarios and highlights where spacers and other mitigating work should occur, given utility-defined risk tolerances.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modelling

Unlike standard tip-load analysis, Neara calculates strain and stresses on poles through FEA modelling. This provides a more accurate understanding of stresses while the network is at rest, as well as peak strain under any given weather conditions.

These scenarios, as well as many more, can be defined precisely according to the utility’s standards and run network-wide. Neara can also be used to better refine network safety standards through simulation and experimentation.

3. Centralization, correction, and layering of asset and external data sets

Neara can be used as the central repository for all physical asset data, as well as other external datasets related to network safety. Utilities can overlay any number of other qualitative and quantitative datasets to further enrich their model and subsequent analysis, including:

  • Asset photographs from the field, allowing easy inspection of asset quality, and appraisal of risk severity.
  • Historic asset maintenance and inspection data, enabling utilities to highlight and prioritize assets with higher risk characteristics.
  • Environmental data – temperature, rainfall, soil-type, and other datasets can be used to further narrow down areas of interest in predicting and mitigating wildfires.
  • Planning and property data – current and future land-use and ownership data, including forestry and nature reserve locations, can correlate with areas of particular interest for wildfire-mitigation.
  • Custom hazard zoning – utilities can upload their own hazard boundaries of interest, encircling particularly high-risk areas of their network.

Neara enables network operators to accumulate and utilize all this information in a single platform.

Rural network

4. Holistic Risk Analysis and Mitigation

Combining complex physical asset modelling with extensive internal and external datasets, utilities can understand wildfire risk exposure like never before. By incorporating and weighing the significance of individual layers of data, a prioritized schedule of work can be automatically produced for the entire network.

Reports and outputs built in Neara can be exported to Excel and other programs for further analysis, or translated into summative or operational dashboards to share with internal and external parties.

5. Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting

Once network risks have been identified, classified, and prioritized for work, Neara can integrate with other vegetation management, field force mobility management, or task management systems. Data export and modular software integration makes adding Neara’s technology to an existing software ecosystem effortless.

Utilities can also build operational dashboards within Neara itself. Maintenance and field teams can access the 3D network model and location data in a simplified, summative interface before visiting the location. Operational dashboards reduce detailed scoping trips to a desktop exercise and give teams a holistic understanding of the work and surrounding area before being deployed to site.

Neara provides a complete wildfire mitigation analysis tool, combining precise network modelling with asset management, maintenance, and external data. Potential risks are identified, visualized, organized, and prioritized, all within the one platform.


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