Service Honors Key Partner
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region Sandhills Fire Management District in Nebraska honored the local National Weather Service (NWS) office for outstanding service and performance in their efforts to develop and communicate accurate and timely weather forecasts. During last month’s biannual meeting, Service District Fire Management Officer Troy Davis presented a plaque and letter to the NWS Weather Forecast Office in North Platte, Nebraska to express the Service’s appreciation.
The relationship between wildland firefighters and weather forecasters has long been recognized as an important one to assist fire managers both on the ground and in the office assess their situation. Accurate weather predictions are critical to help the wildland fire community ensure firefighter safety, determine timing for effective prescribed burning, and to aid in sound fiscal decision-making when it comes to fire suppression.
In addition to general forecasts, the NWS issues fire weather watches and red flag warnings to highlight conditions conducive for large fire growth and extreme fire behavior. Forecasters are also frequently called upon to provide vital site-specific spot weather forecasts during fire events, providing managers with a forecast issued to fit the time, topography and weather for a specific fire. They are more detailed, timely, and specific than zone forecasts.
Officials from the Service and other land management agencies regularly meet with the NWS in order to help forecasters better understand the complex challenges that fire managers face. It also allows for fire personnel to provide feedback and suggestions on the products and services the National Weather Service provides to them.
The Region 6 Sandhills Fire Management District looks forward to the continued working relationship with the local weather service and the professional component it adds to the fire program. More information on the North Platte National Weather Service office can be found at www.crh.noaa.gov/lbf/?n=ouroffice
A wildfire burns near Valentine, Nebraska during a dry day in July. Weather plays a key role in all fire manaement activities. USFWS
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