GOES-16 imagery (or GOES-14 in SRSOR mode) flows directly into AWIPS and NWS radar. The next step is important, that is, a NWS forecaster has to analyze and evaluate the GOES-16 imagery before the data is released via the WFDN App software for dispatch to state (or local) officials. NWS staffing in times of wildfire danger is similar to staffing in other severe weather events such as tornadoes. The WDFN App was modified and improved in the spring 2017 by the NWS Norman OK, one of the key improvements is that the WFDN App auto-populates. There are no added costs to the WFOs, at least there are no added costs to the WFO Norman OK.
The NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Norman OK partners with the Oklahoma Forestry Service (OFS), the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM), the Texas A&M Forest Service. NWS Norman send WFDN SMS to e-mail notifications are sent to two OFS Chiefs, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Watch Officers, and a Chief from the Texas A&M Forest Service, they in turn transmit the WFDN App to local first responders. Speaking of the partnership between NWS WFO staff and State/County wildfire agencies, Todd Lindley told me that the use of the WFDN App “requires a deep level of cooperation between State/County Agencies and the NWS WFO staff” (May 1, 2017 phone call with author). In most counties in the NWS Norman OK forecast area the use of the WFDN App has translated to 5 to 10 minutes lead time ahead of E-911 notifications.
The WFO Norman OK continued to use the WFDN App during their Late Winter/Early Spring 2017 wildfire season, and they will continue to use the WFDN beyond the Late Winter/Early Spring 2017 wildfire season. In addition, other NWS WFOs are using the WFDN App. The WFDN App can be modified by each WFO for their own use. The use of the WFDN has spread to other NWS WFOs, and there are still more WFOs that have expressed interest in the WFDN. Other WFOs that are currently using the WFDN App include: NWS Amarillo TX and NWS Tulsa OK. In Amarillo TX, after the imagery is analyzed and evaluated by their forecasters, the WFDN notifications are released directly to local agencies. This means that local first responders in the Amarillo TX region receive the notification 15 to 20 minutes in advance of E-911 notifications because unlike in the Norman OK area (5 to 10 minutes ahead of E-911), the WFDN goes directly to the local agencies.
The WFOs of the NWS have always been involved in forecasting fire weather through the issuance of fire weather forecasts and red flag warnings. The development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App (WFDN) changes this for Norman, Amarillo, and Tulsa WFOs, Todd Lindley of WFO Norman OK explains:
If I could make a final summarizing statement about the Experimental WFDNs, it is that there is not a change in overall NWS fire weather services. However, the development of the Experimental WFDN, a prototype, does mean that in in addition to providing fire weather services they are taking on an experimental and more active tactical role in routing firefighting resources directly to newly detected fires (May 1 June 5, 2017 e-mails with author).In part 7, I will share a couple of examples of how the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification made a difference in the Spring of 2017 in Oklahoma.
List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection
June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction
June 23: Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager
June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16
June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16
June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App
July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017 (this article)
July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference
July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App