Natural Resource Agency
The natural resource agencies will oversee the fire weather
observation program, including the siting and maintenance of the
observing equipment, fire weather training of their personnel, and
the proficiency of their personnel in the use of the NWS Spot
Natural resource agencies will monitor the quality and timeliness
of NWS fire weather products, and provide feedback to the NWS in
order to improve services to the agencies.
The natural resource agencies may, from time to time, advise the
NWS of new technologies being implemented to monitor meteorological
or fuel parameters, or to improve communication, coordination,
training or reference. Natural resource agency personnel may, with
prior arrangement, visit an NWS office to acquire a knowledge of NWS
technologies used in the monitoring of weather, or the preparation
Internet will be the primary method of obtaining the Fire Weather
Forecast, Red Flag Warning, Fire Weather Watch, and for both
requesting and receiving a Spot Forecast. As a backup method, a
request can be made to the NWS for a product to be faxed to the
customer agency. NFDRS observations will be entered into WIMS, and
forecasts and calculations based on these observations will be
received by WIMS, or by internet via a WIMS website.
Fire weather observation stations provide the specialized weather
observations for fire weather forecasts, wildfire control and
suppression, and various other land management operations. These
stations were selected very carefully in each state and federal
district. Sites were chosen to represent homogeneous weather
conditions across a district. Stations may either be manned sites
operated by land management agencies, or unmanned, Remote Automatic
Weather Stations (RAWS) maintained by any of the federal or state
land management agencies in the area.
All observation stations are assigned a 6-digit
identification/location number. The first two digits indicate the
state, the second two digits indicated the county, and the last two
digits indicated the consecutively-assigned station number for that
county. Land managers who wish to have a number assigned to a
station should contact the GACC meteorologist at SACC in Atlanta.
RAWS stations are also assigned an 8 character alphanumeric
identifier based on satellite transmission time. The NESDIS ID,
transmit channel and time are assigned by the US Forest Service
National RAWS program.
Observations from a satellite telemetered RAWS will automatically
flow into WIMS via the NESDIS ID. If a station is not satellite telemetered, the data must be manually entered into WIMS. It is important the 1300 hour observation is quality controlled, as this observation will be used by the NFDRS. The RAWS owner must enter WIMS
and manually change a recorded observation (an R ob) to an observed observation
(an O ob), manually enter the State of the Weather (SOW), and save the observation to WIMS. This action is generally applied only to the daily 1300 hour observation. Non-NFDRS stations are naturally exempt
from these procedures.
Even with automated observations, the
responsibility still rests with the RAWS owner to ensure that
observations are being transmitted, recorded, and archived properly in WIMS.
Automation greatly simplify the daily process, however there
will still be the need for observations to be checked for integrity and consistency.
Managing the NFDRS model parameters will still be a manual process in WIMS. Automation
will help streamline the WIMS collective that is distributed to
the NWS via AWIPS. NFDRS forecasts are based on RAWS observations that appear on the
daily collective and it is important these observations are accurate.
Sensor failure will often result in erroneous or (at best) suspicious values.
If the NWS becomes aware of such a situation, it is prudent to contact the station owner.
Similarly, if a station owner becomes aware of a sensor failure, he should relay that
information to the appropriate NWS office. It is that station owner's responsibility
to make sure that their station is and remains in good working order and repairs are made
in a timely manner. Owners of NFDRS stations can still (and should) correct any errors in
their respective observations.
It is important to note,
observations are the most important single
effort the control agencies put into the Fire Weather Program.
Potential fire danger is derived from these observations. The Fire Danger
Rating System is the guidance tool that, together with the weather forecast,
is used to make a variety of management decisions. It is important that
observers be well trained and informed of the necessity for accurate,
timely, and representative observations.
The user agencies are also responsible for maintaining
observation site equipment. NWS personnel may accompany the user on
maintenance trips or for annual inspection visits, which could also
serve as liaison with the users.
The responsibility of training natural resource agency employees
will be that of the agencies themselves. However, the NWS will be
available to assist when requested to do so. Any expenses incurred
by the NWS will normally be charged to the user agency, unless other
arrangements have been made.