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@beyondtracks/nsw-rfs-majorincidents-geojson v2.7.0

Developer friendly NSW RFS Major Incidents GeoJSON Feed

:fire: nsw-rfs-majorincidents-geojson

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) publishes a GeoJSON feed of major incidents, this project aims to make that feed more developer friendly.

You can either build this application into your own pipeline or use the hosted URL at (no service availability guarantees), preview it at

An archive of historical feed data is at and a time series visualisation at

NSW RFS Current Incidents are © State of New South Wales (NSW Rural Fire Service). For current information go to Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Where is it used?

This pipeline has been built for and can be viewed live at to provide information about bush fires near bushwalks.



The upstream feed lacks the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header which means web applications aren't able to use the feed directly. This was reported to the NSW RFS on the 3rd of December 2015, and as of December 2019 the header still isn't present.

The sample crontab file allows you to mirror the RFS feed and serve it with your own HTTP server, adding the Access-Control-Allow-Origin HTTP header.

Nested GeometryCollections

The upstream feed uses nested GeometryCollections, although allowed by the GeoJSON spec, the recommendation is they SHOULD be avoided.

Nested GeometryCollections are converted to flat GeometryCollections when they include different Geometry types or a multipart geometry where it's possible to avoid using a GeometryCollection at all.

Since some downstream applications can have trouble ingesting GeoJSON data with GeometryCollections of varying types, the option --avoid-geometrycollections is provided to explode these out into multiple Features.

Coordinate Precision

Although extra coordinate precision can help retain geometry shape even beyond the capture precision, the upstream feed uses 14 decimal places, which is more than reasonable precision for Point features. Point geometry coordinates are limited to 4 decimal places for ~10m resolution, polygon geometry coordinates are unchanged to prevent creating invalid polygons.

Overloaded Description

The upstream feed overloads properties into the description field in the format KEY: Value <br />KEY: Value. These are exploded out to make them easier to machine read in applications. The original overloaded description is dropped from the output.

Some properties are parsed:

  • fire size is converted from a string "10 ha" into a numeric value with units in hectares

Machine Readable Schema

Within schema/ are JSON files containing the values and descriptions for Status, Alert Level and Incident Type. These can be used within web applications to provide users more information about what these terms mean.

ISO8601 Datetimes

The upstream feed uses dates in the format 3/01/2018 5:20:00 AM in some places and 3 Jan 2018 16:20 in other places in local time. These datetimes are converted into ISO8601 datetimes assuming the 'Australia/Sydney' time zone to avoid any ambiguities in interpretation.

Winding Order

For extra assurances the GeoJSON winding order is enforced with

Sorted features

You can control the order of features with --sort=original|guid|pubdate. The default is original which retains the original sort order, sorting by guid uses ascending order and pubdate uses chronological order.

Removal of Internal Shared Borders

Around November 2019 it was observed some bushfire areas were being split into multiple Polygon geometries within the GeometryCollection for the incident. Since these are purely artificial, there is no compelling reason to include them, so we attempt to remove these by unioning multiple Polygons together with polygon-clipping.

Shared internal borders

Where the internal shared borders aren't perfectly touching you can try with the --avoid-slivers option (off by default) which tries to remove slivers less than 25m in width.


The guid is used as a numeric GeoJSON Feature ID.


Install the Node dependencies with:

yarn install

Run the script with:

./bin/nsw-rfs-majorincidents-geojson nsw-rfs-majorincidents.geojson

This will download the upstream feed, process it and save the resulting GeoJSON file at nsw-rfs-majorincidents.geojson.

Alternatively if you've pre-downloaded an upstream feed you can run:

./bin/nsw-rfs-majorincidents-geojson upstream.json output.geojson


  • --pretty-print pretty print the output, otherwise output is minified
  • --avoid-geometrycollections explode GeometryCollections out to multiple Features to avoid the use of GeometryCollections (handy for use in QGIS which doesn't support varying geometry types within a GeometryCollection, see (off by default)
  • --avoid-slivers to try and remove narrow slivers in polygons (off by default)
  • --sort=<original|guid|pubdate> the default is original which retains the original sort order, sorting by guid uses ascending order and pubdate uses chronological order


Each GeoJSON Feature represents a major incident. Each Feature may have multiple geometries using a GeometryCollection. For example both a point indicating a rough location and a polygon showing a bushfire extent. Although so far every feature contains at a minimum a point geometry, without any documented guarantees about this consumers should accept features with no geometry or only a polygon geometry.

Each feature has a properties field as follows. Note that these vary from the upstream feed, the full list of possible values is unknown these are just the ones I've come across. None of these properties are guaranteed to be present.

titleStringA short name used as the tile of this incident, given to assist with managing multiple incidents. Usually this is the name of a nearby road or geographic feature but it doesn't necessarily reflect the exact location of that incident.Grain Valley Rd, Boggabri
linkStringA URL where more information about the incident can be found. If not found the generic link should be used.
link-updatedStringDatetime in ISO8601 for the when the link contents were last updated.2019-12-21T21:14:00+11:00
alert-levelStringAlert level of the incident, see #alert-levelemergency-warning, watch-and-act, advice, not-applicable
statusStringStatus of the incident, see #statusout-of-control, being-controlled, under-control
guidStringA globally unique identifier for this incident. Usually it is a non-publicly accessible URL
pub-dateStringDatetime in ISO8601 of when the incident was first published2018-01-05T23:41:00+11:00
updatedStringDatetime in ISO8601 of when the incident details were last updated2018-01-06T10:41:00+11:00
responsible-agencyStringThe name of the agency responsible for responding to the incidentRural Fire Service, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
sizeStringThe ground area which the incident affects in hectares2790
typeStringThe type of incident, see #incident-typebush-fire, medical, grass-fire
firebooleanIndicates if this this incident a fire (true) or not (false)true, false
council-areaStringShort name of the council area the incident falls inWollongong
locationStringA description of the location of the incidentCoast Trk, Lilyvale, NSW 2508, 150.79 -33.30


Status NameDescription
Out of controlA fire which is spreading on one or more fronts. Effective containment strategies are not in place for the entire perimeter.
Being controlledEffective strategies are in operation or planned for the entire perimeter.
Under controlThe fire is at a stage where fire fighting resources are only required for patrol purposes and major re-ignition is unlikely.

Alert Level

Alert Level NameDescription
Emergency WarningAn Emergency Warning is the highest level of Bush Fire Alert. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.
Watch and ActThere is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family.
AdviceA fire has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
Not Applicable

Incident Type

Incident Type NameDescription
Bush FireForest and/or Scrub Fire
Grass FireGrass Fire
Hazard ReductionPlanned controlled burns to reduce bush fire hazards
Structure FireA fire involving a residential, commercial or industrial building
Haystack FireHaystack fire
HAZMATThe NSW RFS provides operational support to the Fire & Rescue NSW for hazardous materials incidents
MVA/TransportTransport incidents including motor vehicle accident, aircraft incident and incidents involving a railway or railway rolling stock
Assist Other AgencyAssist other agency such as Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Police, NSW SES, NSW Ambulance, Defence Force, interstate deployments etc
Search/RescueSearch and Rescue, rescue animal
Flood/Storm/Tree DownAssisting with Flood or storm damage or tree down
Vehicle/Equipment FireVehicle or Equipment fire such as car fire, farm machinery fire, transformer fire etc
Burn offBurn off such as stubble fire, pile burn etc
Fire AlarmAutomatic Fire Alarm or Domestic Smoke Alarm
MedicalMedical incident such as medical evacuation
OtherOther incidents such as smoke in vicinity, gas leak, building collapse etc


The information in the RFS feed can affect life and property. Although the aim of this project is to make the RFS feed more safe, usable and reliable for data consumers, errors or omissions may be present and/or the upstream supplied data structure may change without any notice causing issues. Use at your own risk.


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