In preparation for the anticipated active fire weather season, meteorologists from the NWS Office in Lubbock hosted a 2 hour fire weather workshop designed to raise awareness of fire weather issues, and discuss the latest research efforts at NWS Lubbock including pattern recognition for fire outbreaks and local fire weather climatology. In attendance at the Science Spectrum were meteorologists from most of the televison broadcast stations in Lubbock, one TV broadcaster from the Midland-Odessa television market, a reporter from the Lubbock Avalanche Journal newspaper, and several meteorologists from both the Lubbock and Midland NWS offices.

Justin Weaver, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Lubbock office welcomed the attendees, followed by a presentation entitled "Fire Weather Products, Services, and Drought Ratings" from Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jody James. Participants were introduced to the NWS Lubbock Fire Weather Forecast Support Page and the new "Fire Danger Statement" product which was introduced in January of 2011. Senior Forecaster and Fire Weather Program Leader Ron McQueen presented information about "La Nina, Drought, Local Wildfire Climatology, and the 2011 Outlook."


Meteorologist in Charge Justin Weaver welcomes the participants at the 2011 Media Fire Weather Workshop, on January 21st.

Justin Musgraves, Regional Fire Coordinator for the Lubbock area from the Texas Forest Service, gave a presentation entitled "Texas Forest Service's Preparations and Response to South Plains Wildfires", and showed the recently released TFS video entitled "Texas Firestorm". (You can view this video on YouTube). Todd Lindley concluded the workshop with an excellent presentation on "Fire Meteorology in West Texas", discussing fire weather outbreaks in recent years, and the latest research efforts aimed at increasing our understanding of West Texas grassfires.

There was excellent discussion about these fire weather topics and the upcoming fire weather season which runs from December through April. Many media participants thanked the staff at WFO Lubbock for organizing the workshop. This event was one in a series of outreach events that have been organized over the past couple of years by NWS Lubbock fire weather meteorologists. Other recent events include a fire weather and drought workshop for regional County Judges and Emergency Management Coordinators, and various fire weather training events for USDA personnel, local fire departments, and city and county leaders.

NWS Lubbock would like to remind everyone to be especially careful this spring when a Red Flag Warning or Fire Danger Statement is in effect. The combination of high winds, low relative humidities, and dry fuels (mainly dry and dead grasses), along with a source of ignition can result in explosive fire growth and deadly rangeland grassfires.

Jody James, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS Lubbock, talks about NWS Lubbock fire weather products and services


Fire Weather Program Leader Ron McQueen discusses drought and its relation to Southern Plains wildfires


Justin Musgraves, Regional Fire Coordinator for the Texas Forecast Service, discussed the role of the TFS in fire weather preparedness and assistance.


Todd Lindley, Senior Forecaster at NWS Lubbock, presented some of his latest reserach on West Texas Fire Weather meteorology is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.