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Texas Fire Weather Operating Plan

General Information

Contents
Introduction
General Information
Forecast Products
Weather Parameters
Special Services
Forecast Offices
Glossary
RAWS/FTS Stations
Sample Narrative
Form D-1
National Agreement
Internet Links
 National Weather Service Organization   
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The primary mission of the NWS is to protect life and property from the damaging effects of hazardous weather. This is accomplished through the issuance of warnings and forecasts targeting primarily the general public. However, through an agreement established between the NWS and wildland fire agencies (see Appendix 4), these warnings and forecasts have been extended to support specific land management and fire protection activities.

To accomplish the mission, NWS offices are staffed continuously by personnel that include one or more professional meteorologists trained in fire weather. Each office provides a specified level of fire weather service based upon requirements established by the fire agencies.

To ensure acceptable two-way communication between the core forecast staff at each office and the various fire agencies, the NWS has designated certain individuals with special knowledge and training to serve as Fire Weather Program Leaders (FWPLs). These meteorologists coordinate the majority of the liaison and administrative activities that are vital to maintaining a close working relationship with the fire community.

The FWPLs for the NWS offices in Texas are listed by office in Section VI of this operating plan. Queries regarding procedural matters, details of the fire weather program or equipment, special operational needs, et cetera, should be addressed to the program leader of the appropriate NWS office, or to that office's Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC). Routine fire weather support is provided by the core forecast staff, with program oversight and coordination provided by the program leader. Requests for on-site fire weather support are handled by certified Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) strategically positioned at NWS offices across the country. These requests are coordinated by the Staff Meteorologist at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Additional information on obtaining IMET services will be provided in Section V of this document.

 Communication and Dissemination   
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Fire weather forecast products from the NWS are transmitted through the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). These products are automatically routed into the US Forest Service's Weather Information Management System (WIMS). While the NWS has responsibility to ensure successful transmission through AWIPS and its communications subsystems to the Telecommunications Gateway (TG), it maintains no control over the operation of WIMS. Most products are available on the internet; however, the internet is not sanctioned by the NWS for operational distribution of forecast products.

User agencies should establish a local agreement with the program leader from each NWS office on a reliable means of dissemination. While fire weather watches, red flag warnings and spot forecasts may be posted to NWS office websites, their primary means of dissemination to the wildland fire agencies is through facsimile, electronic mail, or other methods agreed upon between individual NWS offices and the agencies served.

NWS offices should always attempt to coordinate with the Texas Interagency Coordination Center (TICC) if they anticipate a red flag event. TICC will also provide communication and documentation services in the handling of spot forecast requests.

User agencies requesting a change of service or special services from a particular office should submit a formal request to the respective NWS office. A list of office contacts is provided by office in Section VI of this operating plan.


Contents | Introduction | General Information | Forecast Products | Weather Parameters
Special Services | Forecast Offices | Glossary | RAWS/FTS Stations
Sample Narrative | Form D-1 | National Agreement | Internet Links
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