Fire weather operating plan



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2011
WISCONSIN

FIRE WEATHER OPERATING PLAN


COMPRISED OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR’S BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOREST SERVICE.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

page
I. Introduction 3

II. Organizational directory of the NWS 4-6

Participating agencies 6-7

III. Services provided by the NWS

Forecast Season 7

Forecast product Ids and areas 8-10

Narrative Forecasts 11-16

NFDRS Point Forecasts 16-17

Spot Forecasts 18-20

Fire Weather Watches/Red Flag Warnings 21-27

Verification and Special Services 28-30

IV. Fire Agency Services and Responsibility 30-32

V. Joint Responsibility 32

VI. Effective Dates of Plan 32

VII. Agency Signatures 33

VIII. Appendices

A. Haines Index

B. Smoke Management

C. Address and Phone Directory

D. FTS Stations

E. NFDRS Raws Site Catalog and Contact List

F. Precipitation and sky terminology and NOAA Weather Radio

G. Interagency Agreement for Meteorological and Other Technical Services




I. INTRODUCTION



The National Weather Service (NWS) is legally mandated to provide a Fire Weather Program and there is a requirement from the customers for the NWS to supply the fire weather services. This annual operating plan describes the policies, procedures and relationship the NWS will have with the federal wildland fire management agencies, as well as with the state of Wisconsin wildland fire management agencies. This operating plan complies with and complements the Interagency Agreement for Meteorological Services. Those involved in the interagency agreement with the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration-NWS are the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, and the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.


The Operating Plan is updated annually, and is reviewed by representatives of the NWS and each user agency prior to the onset of the spring fire season. All parties should have a copy of this plan available for reference purposes. Each fire management agency receiving this plan will be responsible for duplicating and distributing this plan to its field offices which require NWS forecasts.


A. SUMMARY OF CHANGES FOR 2011


1. The Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC) has moved to the United States Forest Service (USFS) Region 9 Office building in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. See page 41 for updated contact information.
2. EACC meteorologist Steve Marien will work remotely from the National Parks Service Mississippi River and Recreation Area in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. See page 41 for updated contact information.
3. Call or fax Laura McIntyre-Kelly at the EACC Milwaukee, Wisconsin office to notify of any Red Flag Warning issuance. See pages 24 and 41 for updated contact information.
4. For the high confidence Red Flag Warning events, the Red Flag Warning may be issued the afternoon before instead of the morning of the event. This would allow extra lead time for the fire management agencies to plan for these events. See pages 23, 24 and 25 for related information.
5. Blair Anderson, Chief of Forest Fire Management for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has retired. His position will remain vacant for now. See page 42 for updated contact information.
6. The contact list for fuel coordination for Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings has been updated. See page 26 for the updated contact list.
7. Tom Zellmer, Zone Fire Management Officer for the Leopold Wetland District of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, in Portage, Wisconsin, will be retiring in September 2011. Contact Sean Sallmann at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge afterwards through the rest of the season. See page 40 for Sean’s contact information.


II. ORGANIZATIONAL DIRECTORY
A. NWS OFFICES AND POINTS OF CONTACT
1. WFO MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN Backup Office: WFO Green Bay

Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mkx/?n=fire




2. WFO LA CROSSE Backup Office: WFO Des Moines
Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/firewx.php

3. WFO GREEN BAY Backup Office: WFO Milwaukee/Sullivan
Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grb/?n=firewx

4. WFO TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN Backup Office: WFO Duluth

Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mpx/fireWx.php



5. WFO DULUTH Backup Office: WFO Twin Cities/Chanhassen

Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dlh/firewx.php


Meteorologist-in-Charge: Mike Stewart michael.stewart@noaa.gov

Fire Weather Focal Point: Amanda Graning amanda.graning@noaa.gov


6. WFO DES MOINES Backup Office: WFO La Crosse
Internet Address: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/?n=firewx
7. OTHER IMPORTANT NWS CONTACTS

B. PARTICIPATING AGENCIES

1. U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

a. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests in northern Wisconsin

2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

a. Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County

b. Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County

c. Leopold Wetland Wildlife Refuge in Columbia County

3. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

4. National Park Service

5. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
A LIST OF CONTACTS FOR THESE AGENCIES IS LOCATED IN THE APPENDIX.


III. SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE NWS
A. Basic Services
This section describes the fire weather products and services provided by the NWS as described in National Weather Service Directive NWSI 10-401. Since there are no full-time forecasters devoted solely to fire weather, fire weather duties are scheduled among other warning and forecast responsibilities. However, spot forecasts for wildfires are treated with a high priority.
Fire weather forecasts will be prepared by the NWS for various fire control agencies in Wisconsin on a seasonal time schedule from early spring to late fall. Start-up and termination of the fire weather season is mainly related to snow coverage across Wisconsin and will be requested by the fire control agencies. The fire control agencies (i.e. WDNR, USFS) shall provide the NWS at least one week of advanced notice prior to the start-up of the fire season.
History indicates spring to be the most active season for the fire weather user, since dead fuels are abundant and the relative humidity is sometimes quite low. Fall may be another peak time for the fire weather agencies due to a new source of fuel from dead vegetation as a result of freeze damage.
Here are the general time periods for each season:
Spring season March 15 to June 15

Summer season June 15 to September 1

Fall season September 1 through Thanksgiving weekend
The NWS is responsible for routine and non-routine forecasts, which include the Fire Weather Planning Forecast (FWF), NFDRS point forecasts, spot forecasts for prescribed burning and wildfires, Fire Weather Watches, and Red Flag Warnings. Most of these products will be available on the Weather Information Management System (WIMS) and/or the internet web sites of the NWS and Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC). The NWS web sites are listed in the Organizational Directory.
The web site for the EACC in the Great Lakes region is:

http://gacc.nifc.gov/eacc/

Some additional fire weather forecasts that can be obtained on this web site are the weekly, monthly and seasonal fire potential outlooks. Fire weather agencies are encouraged to remain informed on these outlooks.

Table 1 below outlines the responsibilities of each NWS office and their respective geographic area. Figure 1 also indicates area of responsibility.
Table 1.

Forecast times, product identifiers and area responsibility of NWS offices



Office

7:00 AM LT

3:00 PM LT



Point forecast

3:30 PM CDT



Spot forecast

on request



Watch/Warning



Fire

district


Duluth

MSPFWFDLH

MSPFWMDLH

phone,

web-based

MSPFWSDLH


MSPRFWDLH



955

956


957

Chanhassen


MSPFWFMPX

MSPFWMMPX

phone,

web-based

MSPFWSMPX


MSPRFWMPX



961

La Crosse

MKEFWFARX

MKEFWMARX

phone,

web-based

MKEFWSARX


MKERFWARX



962

963


964

Milwaukee/

Sullivan


MKEFWFMKX

MKEFWMMKX

phone,

web-based

MKEFWSMKX


MKERFWMKX



965

966


967

Green Bay

MKEFWFGRB

MKEFWMGRB

phone,

web-based

MKEFWSGRB


MKERFWGRB



958, 959

960


965


Note: The fire weather responsibility of fire weather zone 965 is shared by WFO Milwaukee/Sullivan and WFO Green Bay. WFO Milwaukee/Sullivan has fire weather responsibility for Marquette and Green Lake counties of zone 965, while WFO Green Bay has fire weather responsibility for Waushara County of zone 965.




Figure 1. Forecast Areas
Products Issued:

1. Planning Forecasts

2. NFDRS Forecasts

3. Spot Forecasts

4. Fire Weather Watch

5. Red Flag Warning





1. Routine Fire Weather Planning Forecasts
The Fire Weather Planning Forecast is a zone-type product used by land management personnel. It is primarily for input in decision-making related to pre-suppression and other planning. The decisions impact firefighter safety, protection of the public and property, and resource allocation.
The morning and afternoon Fire Weather Planning Forecast (AWIPS/WIMS product MKEFWFMKX, MKEFWFGRB, MKEFWFARX, MSPFWFMPX or MSPFWFDLH) will be broken down into 74 zones with a zone number assigned to each Wisconsin county (Figure 2). Many zones will usually be combined to form one forecast group. The morning and afternoon forecast will be entered into the NWS AWIPS computer system by 700 AM LT and 3-330 PM LT respectively. They are then available to users via WIMS, NWS office web sites, or Predictive Services web sites at the GACCs.


The elements in the narrative forecast are:
Headline (Required for Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches)

  • may also headline other significant weather concerns or changes


Discussion

  • written with enough detail to give users knowledge of weather causes during the forecast period. Brief enough to make radio dissemination as efficient as possible

  • provides frontal positions, movements and timing

  • serves as a vehicle to discuss reasoning for headlines or expected changes in critical parameters such as temperature, humidity, and wind


Sky/Weather

  • sky and general weather conditions (Appendix F) including trends

  • as specific as possible on timing, duration and coverage of precipitation

  • as specific as possible on cloud coverage, type, and trends


High and low temperature

  • temperature ranges should be kept as small as possible, 5 degrees or less


Relative humidity

  • forecast daytime minimum and nighttime maximum

  • humidity ranges of 5 percent when RH is 40 percent or less;

  • a maximum range of 10% can be used for RH greater than 40 percent


20 ft. wind speed (mph) and direction

  • as specific as possible on timing of significant speed and directional changes

  • given in ranges of 5 mph or less and includes gusts

  • forecast direction to nearest 8 cardinal compass points (northwest, north, southeast)


Other elements included:
Haines Index

  • low level determined from the 950 ‑ 850 MB level (about 1,000 ft to 5,000 ft.)

  • attached to “DAY” periods

  • provided by all NWS offices year round



Smoke Management parameters

- depth of the mixing layer. The average mixing height from 12 to 18 hours local time.



  • attached to “DAY” periods

  • transport winds (speed and direction) in the mixing layer

- dispersion index consisting of a number and a text ranking of poor, fair, good, or

excellent (Appendix B explains the terms used in smoke management)



  • provided by all NWS offices year round


Hours of sunshine

­ important for assessing probability of ignition of fine fuels (strong insolation can

make them more likely to ignite)
Precipitation amount

­ coverage and expected amount


Extended forecasts

­ added after each forecast group providing forecasts for the 3-7 day period .

­ included are: sky/weather, temperature, with a wind forecast thru Day 7.
**Optional elements in narrative forecasts may vary slightly between NWS offices

Examples of the morning and afternoon Fire Weather Planning Forecast are located on pages 13-15. The morning format includes the first three forecast periods, while the afternoon forecast will include an additional 4th period.



Morning Planning Forecast Example:

FIRE WEATHER PLANNING FORECAST FOR (name of area)

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI

600 AM CDT THU MAY 25 2009


. . .RED FLAG WARNING THIS AFTERNOON FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN…
.DISCUSSION. . .AT DAYBREAK A COLD FRONT WAS MOVING INTO THE EASTERN DAKOTAS. WARM DRY AIR WILL PUSH INTO SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA AND SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN AHEAD OF THE FRONT WITH AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES WARMING INTO THE 80S. EXPECT SURFACE WINDS TO INCREASE AS THE FRONT APPROACHES. STRONG SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL CAUSE THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY TO BE LOWER THAN THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS. BY SUNSET THE FRONT WILL PUSH INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN. EXPECT A FEW SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS NEAR THE FRONT...BUT THE FRONT WILL REMAIN MOSTLY DRY. COOLER AND STABLE HIGH PRESSURE WILL THEN SETTLE ACROSS THE AREA THROUGH MIDWEEK.
WIZ032>034-041>044-252200-

ADAMS-BUFFALO-JACKSON-JUNEAU-LA CROSSE-MONROE-TREMPEALEAU-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF. . .BLACK RIVER FALLS. . .LA CROSSE. . .MAUSTON. . .

SPARTA/TOMAH

600 AM CST THU MAY 25 2008
. . .RED FLAG WARNING THIS AFTERNOON FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. . .
.TODAY. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . PARTLY CLOUDY UNTIL 1500...THEN MOSTLY SUNNY.

MAX TEMPERATURE . . . 80 TO 85.

MIN HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . 18 TO 23%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . SOUTHWEST WINDS 22 TO 27 MPH. GUSTS TO 35 MPH.

HAINES INDEX . . . . . . . . . 6. . .HIGH.

HOURS OF SUN . . . . . . . . .7 HOURS.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . .NONE.

MIXING HEIGHT . . . . . . . . 3500 FT AGL (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

TRANSPORT WINDS . . . . . SOUTHWEST 20 TO 25 MPH (AVE. NOON-6PM). **

SMOKE DISPERSAL . . . . . .77000. . .EXCELLENT. (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

.TONIGHT. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS UNTIL 2000. . .THEN

PARTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN 20 PERCENT.

MIN TEMPERATURE . . . . 55 TO 60.

MAX HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . 68 TO 73%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . .SOUTH WINDS 15 TO 20 MPH. . .BECOMING NORTHWEST 10 TO 15 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . ISOLATED .05 TO .10 INCH.


.FRIDAY. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . PARTLY CLOUDY UNTIL 1300...THEN MOSTLY SUNNY.

MAX TEMPERATURE . . . .65 TO 70.

MIN HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . .34 TO 39%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . .SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.

HAINES INDEX . . . . . . . . . .4 . . .LOW.

HOURS OF SUN . . . . . . . . . .9 HOURS.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . NONE.

MIXING HEIGHT . . . . . . . . 2000 FT AGL (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

TRANSPORT WINDS……..SOUTH 30 MPH (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

SMOKE DISPERSAL . . . . . 60000. . .EXCELLENT. (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

.FORECAST DAYS 3 THROUGH 7. . .

.FRIDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.SATURDAY. . .SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 70S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.

.SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.SUNDAY. . ..PARTLY CLOUDY. BREEZY. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S.

SOUTHWEST WINDS 20 TO 25 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 30 PERCENT.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.MONDAY. . .MOSTLY CLOUDY. BREEZY. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS THEN CHANCE OF

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S. SOUTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 25 MPH.

CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

.MONDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. LOWS IN THE MID 50S.

SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

.TUESDAY. . .CLOUDY. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT.

.TUESDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. LOWS IN THE

LOWER 50S. SOUTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.WEDNESDAY. . .PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.


$$

. . .(other zone groups and forecasts from the remainder of the NWS office’s county area of responsibility).
$$
FORECASTER NAME, INITIALS or NUMBER

The Afternoon Planning Forecast:
The afternoon planning forecast includes the same bulleted weather parameters as the morning planning forecast. The difference is a detailed, bulleted forecast is provided for the first four periods TONIGHT, TOMORROW, TOMORROW NIGHT and the NEXT DAY.
Afternoon Planning Forecast Example:
FIRE WEATHER PLANNING FORECAST FOR (name of area)

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI

300 PM CDT THU MAY 25 2009
. . .COLD FRONT TO BRING SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE AREA TONIGHT…

.DISCUSSION. . .A SLOW MOVING WEATHER SYSTEM OVER SOUTHERN CANADA THIS

AFTERNOON...WILL DRAG A COLD FRONT OVER LAKE SUPERIOR INTO SOUTHEAST

MINNESOTA BY THIS EVENING. THIS FRONT IS EXPECTED TO BECOME STALLED

OVER SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN TONIGHT AND SATURDAY.

SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE LIKELY IN THE VICINITY AND

EAST OF THE COLD FRONT.
WIZ032>034-041>044-261200-

ADAMS-BUFFALO-JACKSON-JUNEAU-LA CROSSE-MONROE-TREMPEALEAU-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BLACK RIVER FALLS...LA CROSSE...MAUSTON...

SPARTA/TOMAH

300 PM CST THU MAY 25 2008
.TONIGHT. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . . . . PARTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.

CHANCE OF RAIN 30 PERCENT.

MIN TEMPERATURE . . . . . . . 53 TO 59.

MAX HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . . . .95 TO 100%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . . . . SOUTH WINDS 5 MPH.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . . . ..SCATTERED TRACE TO .05 INCH.

.FRIDAY. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . . . . PARTLY CLOUDY UNTIL 1300. . .THEN MOSTLY SUNNY.

MAX TEMPERATURE . . . . . . .80 TO 85.

MIN HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . . . . .35 TO 40%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . . . . SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

HAINES INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . .LOW.

HOURS OF SUN . . . . . . . . . . . ..9 HOURS.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . . . . NONE.

MIXING HEIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . 2500 FT AGL (AVE. NOON-6PM)..**

TRANSPORT WINDS . . . . . . . SOUTH 25 MPH (AVE. NOON-6PM). .**

SMOKE DISPERSAL . . . . . . . . .62500. . .EXCELLENT. (AVE. NOON-6PM). **

.FRIDAY NIGHT. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . . . .MOSTLY CLEAR.

MIN TEMPERATURE . . . . . . . 45 TO 50.

MAX HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . . . .72 TO 77%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . . . . SOUTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . . . ..NONE.


.SATURDAY. . .

SKY/WEATHER . . . . . . . . . . . . MOSTLY SUNNY UNTIL 1000...THEN PARTLY CLOUDY.

MAX TEMPERATURE . . . . . . .85 TO 90.

MIN HUMIDITY . . . . . . . . . . . .35 TO 40%.

20-FOOT WINDS . . . . . . . . . . . SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.

HAINES INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. . .HIGH.

HOURS OF SUN . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 HOURS.

PRECIPITATION . . . . . . . . . . . NONE.

MIXING HEIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . 1500 FT AGL (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

TRANSPORT WINDS . . . . . . . . SOUTH 25 MPH (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

SMOKE DISPERSAL . . . . . . . . .37500. . .GOOD. (AVE. NOON-6PM).**

.FORECAST DAYS 3 THROUGH 7...

.SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS NEAR 70. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.

.SUNDAY. . .PARTLY CLOUDY. BREEZY. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.

HIGHS IN THE MID 80S. SOUTH WINDS 15 TO 20 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS 30 PERCENT.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. NORTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.MONDAY. . .MOSTLY CLOUDY. BREEZY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS

IN THE MID 70S. SOUTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 25 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

.MONDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. LOWS IN THE MID 50S.

SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

.TUESDAY. . .CLOUDY. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT.

.TUESDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. WEST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.WEDNESDAY. . .PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S. NORTHWEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.

.WEDNESDAY NIGHT…CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 40S. NORTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.

.THURSDAY. . .PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.


$$
. . .(other zone groups and forecasts from the remainder of the NWS office’s county area of responsibility).
$$
FORECASTER NAME, INITIALS or NUMBER

**-These smoke management elements are now provided year round.
a) Updates to Fire Weather Planning Forecasts
Updates and a reason for an update will be provided whenever forecast conditions become unrepresentative. Fire agencies are also encouraged to call their local NWS office when the forecast is unrepresentative, or the forecasts between NWS offices are sufficiently different at the geographical NWS borders to create uncertainty among the fire weather users. Additionally, updates will be made to the morning or afternoon Fire Weather Planning Forecasts for changes in Red Flag headlines (coordination required) which include:
1. New issuance of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.

2. Upgrading from a Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning.

3. Change an area outline of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.

4. Cancellation of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.


Also, updates will be made when the following conditions are met during a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning:
1. Precipitation occurrence or non-occurrence if different from the forecast.

2. Wind speed differs by more than 5 mph.

3. Temperature differs by more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Relative Humidity differs by 10% or more.



2. NFDRS point forecasts
A point forecast will be issued for a fire weather user reporting an observation for any given day and must be entered into AWIPS by 330 PM CDT. The point forecasts are then used to calculate output from the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). The output is used by land management agencies to determine fire danger levels, staffing, and resource needs. NWS forecasters can retrieve this data under the AWIPS identifier NMCFDICR. Critical fire danger situations may exist when the energy release component (ERC) is 44 or higher in the q-fuel model (Jack Pine) and/or the 10 hour fuel moisture (10 H) is less than 10%.
Up to 27 point forecasts may be issued on a particular day statewide with high fire danger levels. But during wet periods or after green-up, there is considerably less point forecasts requested with land agencies. During periods of low fire danger, point forecasts may be terminated on weekends. In addition, after green-up in early June, and with the offering of a normal or wetter than normal summer, point and narrative forecasts may be terminated for all days until late summer, or when land agencies feel that point forecasts or narratives are again necessary.

A listing of observations from 1900 UTC is obtained from two separate transmissions at 1930 UTC and 2015 UTC. The transmissions are under the AWIPS identifier NMCFWOCR. After the point forecasts are issued, a third transmission of NMCFWOCR will list the point forecasts for that day. Point forecasts for NFDRS sites can be found under the identifiers MKEFWMMKX, MKEFWMGRB, MKEFWMARX, MSPFWMMSP or MSPFWMDLH. See figure 2 for the location of NFDRS sites and Table 2 for the format of the NFDRS forecasts. A catalog of all the NFDRS sites for Wisconsin is located in Appendix F.



Table 2. Fire weather point forecast coding reference
The format is: (commas but NO spaces)
FCST,SSCCNN,YYMMDD,VT,W,TT,RH,L1,L2,DD,VV,M,TM,TN,HM,HN,P1,P2,WF

STN # code SSCCNN where SS = State (21 is MN) CC = County NN = station

SSCCNN ‑ 6 digit station number from above

YYMMDD ‑ valid day of fcst ‑ year/month/day The forecast made on April 10, 2007 for the 11th would be 070411

VT ‑ Valid time. always a 13 for 1300 CST (2pm CDT)

W ‑ State of the weather at 1300 CST tomorrow as shown below


0 = less than 1/8 clouds 4 = fog 7 = snow/sleet

1 = 1/8 to 4/8 opaque clouds 5 = drizzle 8 = showers

2 = 5/8 to 7/8 opaque clouds 6 = rain 9 = thunderstorms

3 = cloudy (Note: categories 5, 6, or 7 set NFDRS indices to zero)


TT = temperature for 1300 CST tomorrow

RH = relative humidity for 1300 CST tomorrow

* L1 = lightning activity level (1400 CST today until 2300 CST). Always a “1” in Wisconsin

* L2 = lightning activity level (2300 CST today until 2300 CST tomorrow). Always a “1” in WI.

DD = wind direction at 1300 CST tomorrow (16 point compass)

VV = 20 ft wind speed in mph at 1300 CST tomorrow

M = 10 hr fuel moisture (input by the users and left blank by the forecaster). Two commas will be noted next to each other

TM = maximum temperature from 1300 CST to 1300 CST

TN = minimum temperature from 1300 CST to 1300 CST

HM = maximum humidity in percent from 1300 CST to 1300 CST

HN = minimum humidity in percent from 1300 CST to 1300 CST

P1 = pcpn duration in hours from 1300 CST today till 0500 CST tomorrow

P2 = pcpn duration in hours from 0500 CST tomorrow till 1300 CST tomorrow

WF = Wet Flag. A Y or N. It is used to indicate if fuels will be wet at 1300 CST. Use with caution, a “Y” will set all NFDRS indices to ZERO! In most cases a “N” is recommended.


3. Spot forecasts
a) Criteria - Spot forecasts are site specific forecasts in support of wildfire suppression and natural resource management. Spot forecasts for a wildfire will be treated with a priority similar to that of severe weather warnings. It is the responsibility of the requestor to indicate that the request is for wildfire suppression.
By Interagency Agreement (NWSI 10-406), the NWS will provide spot forecasts to any federal, state, tribal, or local official for support of a wildfire.
For non-wildfire purposes, resources permitting, the NWS will provide spot forecast service under the following circumstances and conditions:

a. Upon request of any federal official who represents that the spot forecast is

required under the terms of the Interagency Agreement for Meteorological Services (NWSI 10-406).

b. Upon request of any state, tribal, or local official who represents that the spot

forecast is required to carry out their wildland fire management responsibilities in

coordination with a federal land management agency participating in the

Interagency Agreement for Meteorological Services.

c. Upon request of any public safety official who represents that the spot forecast is

essential to public safety. A “public safety official” is an employee or contract

agent of a government agency at any level (federal, state, local tribal, etc.) charged with protecting the public from hazards, including wildland fires of whatever

origin and/or other hazards influenced by weather conditions such as hazardous

material release.


The NWS will not provide spot forecasts to private citizens or commercial entities not acting as an agent of a government agency.
Requestor Identification - The requestor for each spot forecast must provide the following information before a spot forecast can be issued.
a. Name

b. Government agency

c. Address and phone number

d. Representation as to the reason for the spot forecast, which must be one of the reasons indicated above.

A current on-site weather observation should accompany the forecast request. The requestor should specify how the wind measurement was obtained (20 foot or eye-level). In the case of a wildfire or prolonged prescribed burn, updated observations should be provided during the course of the event. Land management personnel should contact the servicing NWS office if forecast conditions appear unrepresentative of actual weather conditions. Spot forecasts should be considered one-time requests, and are not routinely updated unless representative observations are available to the forecaster. Feedback from land management personnel is also encouraged during or after the burn.
Users are asked to read the Fire Weather Planning Forecast before making a spot forecast request. To hold the number of spot forecasts to a manageable level, internal coordination and planning should be done by user agencies making forecast requests.
b) Content and Format - The standard format for wildfire spots includes: headlines (Red Flag Warning or Fire Weather Watch) explaining what, when, where and why; discussion, sky/weather, temperature, relative humidity, and wind. Other optional elements may also be provided. See example below.
The content of non-wildfire spots should conform to the standard format for wildfire spots, though the content and number of forecast periods may be different, as determined by the requestor. Users should be as specific as possible when making a forecast request.
c) Procedures - An Internet-based program, NWS Spot, is the national standard for requesting, issuing, and retrieving spot forecasters. This program is available on NWS web sites. Spot forecasts can also be requested by phone or fax. A phone call must accompany the fax request so the forecaster is aware of the request.
The requesting agency should provide information about the location, topography, fuel type(s), size, ignition time, and a contact and telephone number of the responsible land management official. When possible, a representative weather observation should accompany the request. As indicated above in section 3a, requestor information justifying the spot forecast request must also be provided for the forecast request to be honored.
Feedback to the NWS office providing the spot forecast is highly encouraged.


FNUS73 KMKX 041600

FWSMKX
SPOT FORECAST FOR LUND WILDFIRE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN

1100 AM CDT TUE APRIL 4 2009


IF CONDITIONS BECOME UNREPRESENTATIVE CONTACT THE NWS.
...RED FLAG WARNING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR SOUTHERN WISCONSIN UNTIL 6 PM...
DISCUSSION...STRONG LOW PRESSURE WILL MOVE FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS TO NORTHWEST WISCONSIN TODAY. GUSTY SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL BRING VERY WARM AND DRY AIR INTO SOUTHERN WISCONSIN.
TODAY

SKY/WEATHER..................PARTLY SUNNY AND WINDY.

TEMPERATURE..................75-80

MIN HUMIDITY .................20-25%

20 FOOT WIND....................SOUTHWEST 20 TO 25 MPH
TONIGHT

SKY/WEATHER..................MOSTLY CLEAR

TEMPERATURE..................50 TO 55

MAX HUMIDITY.................80 TO 85 PERCENT

20 FOOT WIND....................WEST 10 TO 15 MPH
WEDNESDAY

SKY/WEATHER..................PARTLY CLOUDY.

TEMPERATURE..................60 TO 65

MIN HUMIDITY..................30 TO 35 PERCENT

20 FOOT WIND....................NORTHWEST 10 TO 15 MPH.
FORECASTER…(OPTIONAL)

$$

REQUESTING OFFICIAL…JOHN DOE



REASON FOR REQUEST…WILDFIRE



Standardized spot weather forecast for a wildfire during a Red Flag Warning.
4. Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings
NWS offices will issue Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings when the combination of dry fuels and weather conditions support extreme fire danger. The WDNR and USFS are responsible for keeping the NWS aware of fuel conditions that could lead to extreme fire danger. The NWS will coordinate with these primary user agencies prior to issuing Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings. See the call list under section

4. C. – Procedures.


User agencies will handle all public and media questions about fire potential and danger. The NWS will answer questions only about weather conditions, and will not comment on fire conditions.
The issuance of these products is typically a two-stage process.

A. Fire Weather Watch
A Fire Weather Watch is issued when there is a reasonable level of confidence for the development of a red flag event. A watch will be issued 12 to 72 hours in advance of the expected onset of criteria. A watch will only be issued (or continued) in the first 12-hour time period for dry thunderstorm events. Red flag criteria are listed below. All four of the following weather conditions, including the dryness of the fuels, must be anticipated for a watch to be issued. These criteria are subjective guidelines, so watches and warnings may be issued for lesser criteria assuming all involved NWS offices, WDNR, and the USFS agree that critical fire weather conditions will occur.


1. Sustained ten-minute winds at the 20 foot level are at or above 15 mph.

2. Minimum relative humidity at or less than 25 percent.

3. Temperatures at or greater than 75 degrees F.

4. The dryness of the fuels will be determined by looking at the Energy Release Component (ERC - NFDRS output) 44 or higher in Q-fuel model (jack pine) (do not consider if the ERC for the current day is below 38; ERC changes slowly) and visual observations. The WDNR and, if necessary, the USFS, will provide this information to the NWS. See the call list (under section 4. C. - Procedures) to determine who the NWS should contact for this information.






Other factors which may be considered if any of the above are marginal:

- The surface dew point depression (best indicator of high fire danger) is more than 40 F.

- The 850 mb dew point depression is greater than 18F (10C).

- It is before spring green-up (usually by June 1st).

- It is after the fall color change or a killing frost.

- The area has been in a dry spell for a week or more

- Dry lightning is anticipated (rare, except during periods of drought)

- Gusty winds in excess of 50 mph (can result in trees falling on power lines, causing power lines to break and sparking fires) are expected.

- NFDRS values are in the high to extreme categories.

- 10-hour fuel moisture is less than 10%

- Extreme behavior on prescribed burns in the area the past several days.

- Haines Index values are in the moderate to high category (5 or 6)


The most common red flag or near red flag synoptic weather situations:
- Strong low pressure moving from the north or central U.S. Rockies to Lake Superior, or a strong Alberta Low tracking to near Lake Superior. Both situations require a windy dry slot associated with a low level jet.

- A departing Hudson Bay High Pressure replaced by the strong low pressure scenario. The high pressure area provides Wisconsin with dry easterly winds and subsiding air. This will effectively dry out the fuels.



Fire Weather Watch coordination and issuance:
- NWS offices will coordinate the issuance, change, and cancellation of Fire Weather Watches with the WDNR and USFS.
- All NWS offices will coordinate weather conditions internally via chat software or telephone. If critical weather conditions are expected, one NWS contact person will contact the WDNR and the USFS via telephone for fuel conditions using the phone list provided herein.
- If fuel coordination between the WDNR and USFS has not taken place prior to this call, a 10-15 minute collaboration period before the official “go-ahead” to issue a watch will be granted. During this period, the WDNR and USFS will coordinate fuel conditions, and the overall need for a watch. A spokesperson from the WDNR or USFS will call the NWS contact person to relay their decision.
- The NWS contact person shall be responsible for disseminating this information back to the other affected NWS offices via chat software or telephone.

- During situations of borderline criteria for a Red Flag Warning or when a Fire Weather Watch is in effect, the NWS is encouraged to use terminology such as “severe fire weather conditions may occur Monday afternoon” or “critical fire weather conditions may be met”. These terms may be used in the discussion section of the Fire Weather Watch and Fire Weather Planning Forecast.


- To avoid confusion, the term “red flag” should only be used in a Red Flag Warning. A Fire Weather Watch will be disseminated on NOAA All Hazards Radio.
- A Fire Weather Watch will be headlined in the Fire Weather Planning Forecast . The headline will include what, when, where and why. Headlines belong before the discussion and before each zone grouping of the Fire Weather Planning Forecast.
- If issued, a Fire Weather Watch (RFW) will describe the affected area, valid time of the watch, and reasons for the watch. A RFW shall have a UGC coding line followed by a Valid Time Event Code (VTEC). Identifiers for each office are MKERFWMKX, MKERFWGRB, MKERFWARX, MSPRFWMPX AND MSPRFWDLH.
B. Red Flag Warnings
A Red Flag Warning is issued when there is a high probability that all four weather criteria listed under the Fire Weather Watch section of this plan are imminent or will be met within 24 hours. However, a Red Flag Warning can be issued any time at the request of fire management personnel during times of critically dry fuels.
The WDNR and the USFS will monitor the Energy Release Component (ERC) to help them determine the dryness of the fuels. A Red Flag Warning will be issued immediately when red flag conditions are occurring, but will be coordinated prior to issuance with WDNR and USFS. The NWS may also monitor the Energy Release Component (ERC) by going to the WDNR or Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC) Internet site. These sites will help the NWS monitor the dryness of the fuels in the state.
Red Flag Warning coordination and issuance:
- NWS offices will coordinate the issuance, change and cancellation for Red Flag Warnings with the WDNR and USFS. If no Fire Weather Watch is in effect, full coordination of fuels with the WDNR and USFS must be made prior to the issuance of a Red Flag Warning (using the same procedure as described above for the watch process). If the WDNR and USFS observe wet fuels and do not believe a warning should be issued, then do not issue the warning. If the NWS is not able to contact any of the officials listed below, then they shall not issue the Red Flag Warning.

- If a Fire Weather Watch has already been issued for the affected area (i.e. fuel coordination has already taken place), and if forecast offices agree that critical fire weather conditions will be met, a Red Flag Warning can be issued without any additional coordination with the fire management agencies (i.e. WDNR and USFS).


- For high confidence Red Flag Warning events, the Red Flag Warning may be issued the afternoon before instead of the morning of the event. This would allow extra lead time for the fire management agencies to plan for these events.
- Any Red Flag Warning issuance requires a call or fax to Laura McIntyre-Kelly at the Eastern Area Coordination Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
Main Office Phone: 414-944-3811 Fax: 414-944-3838
- A Red Flag Warning will be disseminated on NOAA All Hazards Radio and also NAWAS.
- A Red Flag Warning will be headlined in the routine Fire Weather Planning Forecast (FWF). The headline will include what, when, where and why. Headlines belong before the discussion and before each zone grouping of the Fire Weather Planning Forecast.
- If issued, a Red Flag Warning (RFW) will describe the affected area, valid time of the warning, and reasons for warning. A RFW shall have a UGC coding line followed by a Valid Time Event Code (VTEC). Identifiers for each office are MKERFWMKX, MKERFWGRB, MKERFWARX, MSPRFWMPX AND MSPRFWDLH.
Cancellation of Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings:
When conditions warrant that a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning is no longer needed, it should be cancelled by the NWS as soon as possible. Note: A cancellation statement is not needed if upgrading from a watch to a warning, or for a Red Flag Warning that is being allowed to expire.


  1. The cancellation will be coordinated with the users.

  2. The cancellation will be headlined in the Fire Weather Planning Forecast.

  3. A cancellation statement under the RFW message shall be issued. A RFW shall have a UGC coding line followed by a Valid Time Event Code (VTEC).


Updates to fire weather planning forecasts when red flag conditions are present:
Updates will be made to the morning or afternoon forecasts for changes in Red Flag headlines (coordination required with land management agencies) which include:

1. New issuance of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.

2. Upgrading from a Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning.

3. Change an area outline of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.

4. Cancellation of a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning.
In addition, updates will be made when the following conditions are met when a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning has been issued:
1. Precipitation occurrence or non-occurrence if different from the forecast.

2. Wind speed differs by more than 5 mph from the forecast.

3. Temperature differs by more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit from the forecast.

4. Relative Humidity differs by 5 % or more from the forecast.



C. Procedures for calling the WDNR and USFS during potential RFW situations.
Outlook Period (More than 48 hours prior to event):

- The NWS will attempt to provide fire control agencies (i.e. WDNR, USFS, etc.) a “heads-up” of potentially critical fire weather conditions several days in advance if possible. Initial communication may occur via email, during the weekly fire weather conference call, or a courtesy call to the land management agencies.


Watch Period (12 - 72 hours prior to event):

- After coordinating weather conditions via chat software or telephone, one NWS contact person will contact the WDNR and the USFS via telephone using the phone list provided below. The WDNR and USFS will coordinate fuel conditions, and the overall need for a watch. A spokesperson from the WDNR or USFS will call the NWS contact person to relay their decision. The NWS contact person shall be responsible for disseminating this information back to the other affected NWS offices via chat software or telephone. If the NWS is not able to contact any of the officials listed below, then they shall not issue the Fire Weather Watch.


Warning Period (less than 24 hours prior to the event):

- If no Fire Weather Watch is in effect, full coordination of fuels with the WDNR and USFS must be made prior to the issuance of a Red Flag Warning (same procedure as described above for the watch process). If the NWS is not able to contact any of the officials listed below, then they shall not issue the Red Flag Warning.


- If a Fire Weather Watch has already been issued for affected areas (i.e. fuel coordination has already taken place), and the NWS forecast offices agree that critical fire weather conditions will be met, a Red Flag Warning can be issued without any additional coordination with the WDNR and USFS.

1. First call made to WDNR 3. Third call made to WDNR 2. Second call made to USFS

Jim Barnier Trent Marty Steve Radaj

Office Phone - (608) 253-6714 Office Phone – (608) 266-7978 Office Phone – (715) 358-6863

Cell Phone - (608) 547-1519 Cell Phone – (608) 575-8578 Cell Phone – (715) 493-6934



Home Phone – (715) 272-1450
2. Second call made to WDNR 1. First call made to USFS 1. Call to EACC as alternate

Ralph Sheffer Jim Grant to WDNR and/or USFS

Office Phone - (608) 935-1925 Office Phone – (715) 362-1341 Steve Marien

Cell Phone - (608) 279-3621 Cell Phone – (715) 493-9137 Office Phone –

Home Phone – (715) 362-2319 (651) 290-3030, EXT. 229

Cell Phone – (402) 250-7844

Fax – (651) 290-3815

WWUS83 KARX 201432

RFWARX
URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI

932 AM CDT WED OCT 20 2009


...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM CDT THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...
.A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS WESTERN AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING BRINGING GUSTY WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES. THE MOST CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR AHEAD OF AND ALONG THE FRONT ACROSS SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA. BY THURSDAY AFTERNOON...THE FRONT WILL HAVE MOVED INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN. THOUGH TEMPERATURES WILL BE A BIT COOLER...WINDS AND HUMIDITIES MAY BE CLOSE TO CRITICAL VALUES ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN THURSDAY AFTERNOON.
MNZ079-086-087-094-095-202000-

/T.UPG.KARX.FW.A.0001.041020T2100Z-041021T0100Z/

/T.NEW.KARX.RF.W.0001.041020T2100Z-041021T0100Z/

WABASHA-DODGE-OLMSTED-WINONA-MOWER-FILLMORE-HOUSTON-

932 AM CDT WED OCT 20 2008
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM CDT THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LA CROSSE HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG

WARNING...AND REPLACED THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH.


A RED FLAG WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURING NOW...OR WILL BE SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...WARM TEMPERATURES AND EXCEPTIONALLY DRY FUELS WILL CREATE DANGEROUS WILDLAND FIRE CONDITIONS. PERSONS ARE URGED TO BE CAREFUL WITH ANY ACTIVITIES THAT COULD POTENTIALLY LEAD TO A WILDLAND FIRE. CAMPFIRES…OUTDOOR GRILLS…SMOKING…CHAIN SAWS…AND ATV OR OTHER SMALL ENGINE USE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO THROW A SPARK AND IGNITE A DANGEROUS AND DESTRUCTIVE FIRE.
PLEASE ADVISE THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OR FIRE CREWS IN THE FIELD OF THIS RED FLAG WARNING.
$$


Figure 3. Example of a Red Flag Warning. Fire Weather Watches would follow the same format.


NOTE: DO NOT USE THE PHRASE “RED FLAG” IN A FIRE WEATHER WATCH PRODUCT. INSTEAD, USE PHRASES SUCH AS “CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS” OR “EXTREME FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS” TO DESCRIBE THE SITUATION.


5. Verification and Participation in Interagency Groups


  1. Verification

Fire weather program leaders will verify the red flag program. Results will be distributed to the NWS regional fire weather program managers as well as the appropriate State and Federal user groups in Wisconsin. Red Flag Warnings will be verified based on the Probability of Detection, False Alarm Rate, Critical Success Index, and Lead Time.





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