Examining spatio-temporal patterns, drivers and trends of residential fires in South East Queensland, Australia

Prem Chhetri (School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Jonathan Corcoran (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Shafiq Ahmad (Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Kiran KC (Cities Research Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 5 November 2018



The purpose of this paper is twofold: first is to examine the changing spatio-temporal patterns and regional trends in residential fires; and second is to investigate the likely association of fire risk with seasons, calendar events and socio-economic disadvantage.


Using spatial analytic and predictive techniques, 11 years of fire incident data supplied by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are mapped and analysed.


The results show significant spatial and temporal variability in the distribution of residential fires. Residential fire incidents are more likely to occur in the inner city and across more disadvantaged areas. Mapped outputs show some areas in Brisbane at a higher risk of fire than others and that the risk of fire escalates at specific times of the year, in neighbourhoods with a higher disadvantage, during major sporting events and school holidays. The residential fires showed strong seasonal periodicity. There is a continuous yet gradual increase in the number of fire incidents recorded for all five sub-regions within SEQ. Sunshine Coast experienced the highest upward trend whereas Toowoomba and West Moreton show the lowest increase.


This study provides an empirical basis to guide future operational strategies through targeting high fire risk areas at particular times. This, in turn, will help utilise finite resources in areas where and when they need and thus enable minimise emergency management costs.



Chhetri, P., Corcoran, J., Ahmad, S. and KC, K. (2018), "Examining spatio-temporal patterns, drivers and trends of residential fires in South East Queensland, Australia", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 586-603. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-09-2017-0213

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