Friday, October 14, 2016

IMET deployments - early fall 2016

While wildfire activity may have eased up somewhat in some parts of the United States, wildfire season is still going on in California and other Western States. Regular readers may recall that I have posted some articles National Weather Service (NWS) Incident Meteorologists (IMETs), Meteorologists who are trained to be onsite at a wildfire providing weather forecasts for the incident.

I was wondering about IMET deployment so I went to the USNWS IMET Facebook page to find out about recent IMET deployments going back to late September. I saw that an IMET from the NWS Sacramento, CA Weather Forecast Office was deployed to the Sobranes Fire on September 30th. I'll get back to the Sobranes Fire in a moment. On or about October 13, an IMET from the NWS Hanford, WA Weather Forecast Office was deployed to the Sacata Fire. The Sacata Fire started on Tuesday, October 11th near Trimmer, California in the Sierra National Forest (Fresno County). As I write this (October 14, 2016 at 2:15 EDT) the Sacata Fire has burned 1,700 acres and is at 35 percent containment.

Back to the Sobranes Fire. There have been a total of 14 IMETs (as of September 30th) that have been deployed to the Sobranes Fire, while not at the top of the list for the number of IMETs deployed to a single fire, the Sobranes Fire is number 8 on the list as of September 30th. Number one on the list for total IMETs deployed to an incident is 29 for the 2011 Texas Fires. See this post on the USNWS IMET page for more information.

I got interested in the Sobranes Fire and I see that according the latest update on the Sobranes Fire inciweb page that the fire was 100 percent contained on October 12, 2016 at 132,127 acres. The cause of the fire was an illegal campfire. Normally IMETs are deployed to a wildfire for two weeks. I have no idea of the IMET deployed on September 30th is still working the Sobranes Fire. I did some checking on the Sobranes Fire photo page and found a couple of videos that I think you might be interested in. Before I get to that, for those of you who are arriving here some months after the Sobranes Fire was contained, I never quite know how long the link to the Sobranes Fire will be active. So if the links here do not work, you will know why.

One of the things that an IMET does on a frequent basis while working a wildfire is to make weather briefings for those working the fire. I found a video of IMET, Julia R, uploaded on September 30, 2016, Julia is giving a weather briefing for the Sobranes Fire. I learned a lot about the importance of incident specific weather forecasts and how weather plays a role in fire behavior. Forecasts such as this one provided by an IMET provide crucial information about the weather conditions and what wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air can expect. IMETs save lives!

Finally, here is another video from an IMET and his IMET trainee on or about August 28th discussing the importance of the ballon launch they were doing one morning. You will learn about balloon launches and how data from a balloon launch over or near a wildfire can help forecast fire behavior so the wildland firefighters can be prepared to fight the wildfire in possibly changing weather conditions. IMETs save lives!

No comments: