Learn about terrain and its role during a bushfire

Terrain (or topography) describes the shape of the earth’s surface. Terrain can affect the speed, intensity and spread of a bushfire.


The aspect of terrain (the compass direction that a slope faces) will influence the amount of sunlight (solar radiation) that a fuel receives. This can influence the moisture content of the fuel and potentially hinder or enhance a bushfire. Different types of vegetation will also grow in different aspects.

Steepness and direction

The steepness of a slope and the direction of the fire front will influence how fast the bushfire spreads. For example, fire spreads much quicker up-slope than down-slope. Terrain can also affect local weather conditions, such as how hot and windy it is.


The steepness of a slope will influence how fast the bushfire spreads