THE FLORIDA FIRES
BACKGROUND: The National Weather Service (NWS)
has positioned a team of specially trained meteorologists in
Florida to provide on-site microscale weather forecasts for firefighters.
This unique NWS group is comprised of experienced fire weather
forecasters, known as Incident Meteorologists, who deploy from
locations throughout the United States to support wildfire operations.
This consolidation of NWS resources assures maximum expertise
on-site to assess weather conditions that affect fires and maintain
fire fighter safety. Media covering wildfires are encouraged
to contact the National Weather Service and learn more about
this program and arrange interviews.
The National Weather Service
offices in Florida have been supporting the effort through coordination
and forecasts. NWS Southern
has opened a 24-hour Fire Weather Support Center to service the
needs of the field personnel involved with the Florida fire effort.
ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB:
From the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
The National Weather Service Office at Tampa Bay is the coordination
center for NWS support to the multiple fires. Forecasts for the
state are available at http://www.marine.usf.edu/nws/mornfire
NOAA has placed satellite
imagery of the fires in Florida on the web. The imagery, in GIF
or JPEG format, is located at http://www.osei.noaa.gov. Click on "fires," then
go to the USA directory, and select the image of interest.
Movie loops of the fires
are available at: http://www.goes.noaa.gov/floridafires.html
For additional general information on the NWS Fire Weather Program,
please look at http://www.boi.noaa.gov/firewx.htm
At the NWS Southern Region
Headquarters, links for forecasts, assessment maps, etc: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ftproot/ssd/html/firewx.htm
From the National Interagency
PLACES ON WORLD WIDE WEB INFORMATION ON FLORIDA'S WEATHER THAT
LED TO FIRES
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho (http://www.nifc.gov), has many useful links including
the INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT, which updates weather
and other fire information for fires around the country: http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.html. Fire news issued by NIFC: http://www.nifc.gov/news/index.html
For more information contact the following people by phone
Marilu Trainor -
National Weather Service Public Affairs, (801) 524-5692 ext.
Rich Ochoa - NWS Staff Meteorologist, National Interagency Fire
Center, (208) 334-9862.
Ken Graham - Marine/Public Service Meteorologist, NWS Southern
Region HQ, (817) 978-2652.
Information on Florida's unusual weather
that set the stage for its raging forest fires has been placed
on the World Wide Web by NOAA.
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The Web site, developed by NOAA's National
Climatic Data Center, was unveiled by Vice President
Al Gore, who visited fire sites in Florida. The Web site, titled
"Florida Wild Fires and Climate Extremes," explains
how Florida's unusual weather led to the fires.
The unusually wet mild winter in Florida promoted abundant growth
in the underbrush. This weather was immediately followed by a
severe drought during April, May and June, which rapidly dried
out the dense underbrush. This combination wet and mild
in the winter, dry and hot in the summer -- provided abundant
fuel to the wildfires throughout Florida.
Details on recent abnormal weather, including temperature and
precipitation as well as drought indices, are available on the
Web site. Links to related Web sites, such as NOAA satellite
imagery of the fires and the fire forecast, are provided.
The Web site can be reached at:
For more information contact Pat
Viets at (301) 457-5005.
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