There may be times when a grass or a forest fire is taking place so that a Spot Forecast may be necessary. The NWS can do a Spot Forecast for a Federal Agency when a Prescribed Burn or Wild Fire is taking place. A Spot Forecast can be done for a State Commission when they are working with a Federal Agency or a Wild Fire event is occurring.
It is imperative that as many observations as possible be received from the area that requires a spot forecast. This feature will greatly help to improve the accuracy of the forecast. A Spot Forecast would require the forecaster to estimate mixing heights, transport winds , temperature, surface wind, humidity, expected weather, cloud cover, and possibly rainfall amounts at 2-3 hour increments.
Current technology on the World Wide Web has allowed the National Weather Service to utilize the Web Based Spot Forecast from Western Region.
Based on the Web Based Spot Forecast concept. The Fire Weather Customer will do the following: (Assuming the Southern Region Server is properly functioning.)
If the Southern Region Server is down then the faxed form for the old method would be done.
The following information would be filled out on form D-1 for a Spot Forecast.
The forecast section with a table format will need to be filled with the following information:
There are two types of Spot Forecast Products(commonly referred to as "Spots"). The first one is issued to support land management personnel for activities associated with Prescribed Burns. The other is issued to support fire suppression activities of on-going Wild Fires. The main difference between the two is that the format and content of a Spot Forecast for a wildfire is standardized nationally, while the format for the Spot Forecast for a prescribed burn is determined by the local users and will vary from office to office.
Before any Spot Forecast is issued the requesting agency should provide information about the location, topography, fuel type(s), elevation(s), size, ignition time, and a contact name(s) and telephone/fax numbers of the responsible land management personnel. Also ,representative observations at or near, the site of the planned Prescribed Burn or Wild Fire should be available to the responsible WFO prior to the issuance of the Spot Forecast by the web. In the case of a Wild Fire or a prolong burn, updated observations and information should be provided to the NWS during the course of the event. Spots will be updated whenever they become, or expected to become unrepresentative of the current forecast.
The general policy of providing Spot Forcasts is established by the local NWS offices and the local customers. The specific contents, issuance frequency, means of communication, and other details of distribution will be determined by local customers and NWS personnel at the time of the customer's request for spot information. Spot Forecasts will include specific weather information giving into account the various parameters in the incident area.
Critical weather element thresholds for the Spot Forecast will be determined by fire behavior analyst or other fuels/fire behavior expert who will define the range of wind, relative humidity, and any other factors which may cause significant changes to fire behavior. In the case of a Prescribed Burn, these thresholds are often defined in the "Burn Plan", which is normally developed and approved well before a Spot Forecast is requested. In most cases, such information can be obtained from the on-site requester.
Spot Forecasts may be sent to the requester through the mutually agreed upon distribution method. Requesters may communicate via a cell phone. In some cases, Spot Forecasts can be requested through a local "Fire or Emergency Dispatch" system. In other cases the fax (which is the most common method in Mississippi) may be the method to transmit...if the Southern Region Internet Server is down.
FNUS 74 KJAN DDHHMM FWSJAN
SPOT FORECAST FOR (LOCATION OF NAME OF WILDFIRE AND REQUESTING CUSTOMER...ie USFS) ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON, MS TIME-DATE (OCT 4, 2006)
VALID UNTIL <8 HOURS AFTER ISSUANCE>
IF CONDITIONS BECOME UNREPRESENTATIVE...CONTACT YOUR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
.HEADLINE...(IF A REDFLAG WARNING/FIRE WEATHER WATCH (JANRFWJAN)) A HEADLINE IS MANDATORY. OTHERWISE A HEADLINE SHOULD BE ADDED AT EVERY ISSUANCE. EX. SPOT FORECAST FOR (NAME OF WILDFIRE)
.DISCUSSION...BRIEF WEATHER SUMMERY AFFECTING FIRE OPERATIONS
.PERIODS (1-3 HOUR INTERVALS FOR TODAY INTO THIS EVENING IF NEEDED INTERVALS FOLLOWED BY AN EXTENDED PERIOD FOR OVERNIGHT AND TOMORROW) or it could be put in a national standard format for three 12 hour periods for today...tonight and tommorrow depending on the customer or IMET.
Spot Forecasts Products for Prescribed Burns
Spot forecasts will be prepared in a format requested by the local customer which can be in graphical or tabular form. In our forecast area we use the tabular format, which may contain any of the following elements as requested by our customers; brief weather discussions, forecast weather, surface winds (including wind shifts), maximum/minimum temperatures and humidity. Upon customer request, other weather elements such as transport winds, mixing heights, stag index, chance of wetting rains. These elements are put into 2-3 hour increments for today through early this evening...depending on customer needs with an extended outlook for overnight and tommorrow. Since Spots are generally for small geographical areas. Areal weather descriptors (such as scattered showers, isolated showers,etc) should not be used. The timing of significant events is important and in the case of wind shifts, extreme critical. Wind forecasts should clearly indicate the level of the wind forecast (i.e. eye level, 20-ft level).
EXAMPLES OF THE 2 TYPES OF WEB BASED SPOT FORECASTS
EXAMPLE OF A SPOT FORECAST FOR A PRESCRIBED BURN or a WILD FIRE SPOT
FNUS 74 KJAN DDHHMM
SPOT FORECAST FOR 4 MILES NE OF OVETT,MS...USFS
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON,MS 915 AM JANUARY 9, 2003
VALID UNTIL 515 PM JANUARY 9, 2007
IF CONDITIONS BECOME UNREPRESENTATIVE CONTACT YOUR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
SPOT FORECAST FOR THE TIGER CREEK DRAINAGE PRESCRIBED BURN
DISCUSSION...BRIEF DISCUSSION AFFECTING FIRE OPERATIONS.
TIME...2-3 hour intervals affecting the customer desired time period.
SKY/WEATHER...specifies cloud cover or type of weather expected for the 2 to 3 hour intervals.
TEMP...specifies temps for the 2 to 3 hour intervals.
WINDSPEED (20FT) specifies the surface wind 20 feet above the ground or above tree tops at 1 to 3 hour intervals.
PROBABILITY OF PRECIPITATION...for 1 to 3 hour periods
DISPERSION INDEX for Stagnation Index...Mixing Height...Transport Winds...500 meter Temps etc for 1 to 3 hour intervals.
EXTENDED FORECAST (FOR 12-24 HOUR PERIOD) SKY/WEATHER...HIGH/LOW TEMPS...HIGH LOW HUMIDITIES...WINDS...REMARKS.