Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Roaring Lion Fire - Incident Meteorologist

I have been writing about the Roaring Lion Fire recently, see my August 3rd and August 8th articles, because the New Jersey Forest Fire Service has a crew that is working the Roaring Lion Fire along with other crews from the Eastern Area. As I write this, the Roaring Lion Fire (in the Bitterroot National Forest near Hamilton Montana) remains at 8,274 acres and is at 60 percent containment, perhaps thanks in part to some cool and wet weather yesterday (see this August 9th report from KXLH 9 with video). Evacuation orders are still in place.

I want to take the opportunity to draw your attention to the very important work done by IMETs, also known as Incident Meteorologists. As I understand it, Incident Meteorologists are National Weather Service Meteorologists that have received special training to provide on-site weather forecasting services to incidents including but not necessarily limited to wildfires. Deployments typically last two weeks or until the wildfire is maintained, see this article on IMETs from the National Weather Service for more information. I am introducing IMETs now because there is an IMET working the Roaring Lion Fire, he describes what being an IMET involves in this video (uploaded on Aug 7th) that I found on Inciweb's Roaring Lion Fire photo page. One of the things that an IMET does is to launch a Weather Balloon with a radiosonde. A radiosonde has a variety of instruments to take upper air readings that Meteorologists use to help them make forecasts. Here is a very short video of the Roaring Lion Fire IMET launching a weather balloon. Here is an article describing yesterday's weather on the Roaring Lion Fire from NBC Montana.

I'd like to thank the IMET, Dan Borsum from the NWS Billings Montana Office, for all that he is doing providing meteorological services to the Roaring Lion Fire, to help the fire crews stay safe and work the fire effectively. Thank-you Dan! I share a brief reflection on what I am learning about IMETs and share a photo that Dan shared with me to share with you in my August 11th post.

Thanks to my friends from the NWS Mt. Holly for helping me with a brief fact check in writing this article.

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