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  Texas Fire Weather Operating Plan

Special Services

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
Special meteorological services are those requiring a meteorologist to be away from the Forecast Office, and/or, in non-emergency situations to be on overtime. Special services include Air Transportable Mobile Unit (ATMU) staffing and other on-site meteorological services such as weather observer training, weather station visits, and training requested by other user agencies.

User agencies such as the USDA or Texas Forest Service are responsible for paying overtime, travel, and per diem costs for special services. Costs to be recovered from the user are calculated on the basis of expense reports submitted by the Forecast Office to NWS Southern Region Headquarters. Billing of the user agencies is handled by the appropriate NWS administrative division based on the expense report. Bills include a statement of services rendered, as well as the dates and locations of services provided.

 The Air Transportable Mobile Unit (ATMU)   
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The ATMU is stored and dispatched from several sites in the western U.S. or from the USDA Fire Cache in London, Kentucky. The ATMU is available upon request for duty at an incident fire, a critical prescribed burn, or other weather-sensitive incident in southeast Texas.

Each ATMU consists of seven pieces or modules, weighing a total of 355 pounds and occupying a total of 34.2 cubic feet. The unit comes equipped with an automatic weather station, theodolite with tripod and calculator for computing winds aloft, a belt weather kit, satellite receiving and display equipment for weather graphics, data communications equipment, a nozzle and regulator for the helium tank, plus office supplies and miscellaneous expendables.

The ATMU must be set up and operated by an ATMU certified meteorologist (called an incident meteorologist or IMET) working closely with a Fire Behavior Analyst (FBA) or Planning Section Chief.

Requests for ATMUs and IMETs should be made through the US Forest Service Regional Dispatch. As a rule, the requests for most of Texas (east of 100 degrees longitude) come from the Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC). West of 100°, they should come through the Southwest Area Coordination Center (SWACC). The Fire Weather Focal Point or Meteorologist-in-Charge at NWS offices should be made aware of the need for ATMU and IMET services in their County Warning and Forecast Area (CWFA).

 Fire Weather Training   
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National Weather Service fire weather meteorologists are available to assist fire control agencies with training at fire behavior school and other related courses. Requests for assistance should be forwarded to the Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC) at the respective NWS office(s) by written letter.


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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