10.2 Perceptions of Accuracy, Communication and Utilization of Fire Weather Spot Forecasts

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 12:00 AM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Tamara Wall, Western Regional Climate Center, Reno, NV; and T. J. Brown and N. Nausler

Spot Weather Forecasts are issued by Weather Service Offices throughout the United States, primarily for use by wildfire and prescribed fire practitioners for local-scale weather conditions. This project focused on the use of Spot Weather Forecasts by prescribed fire practitioners. Using qualitative in-depth interviews with fire practitioners and National Weather Service forecasters, we looked at factors that influence both quantitative accuracy as well as perceptions of accuracy, and how accuracy and utilization of Spot Weather Forecasts can be improved. Results indicate there are several well understood climatological, topographical, and data driven factors that influence forecast accuracy. However, a key opportunity for improving accuracy and utilization of the forecast may be in enhancing the process and mechanisms for communication between a Weather Forecast Office and fire personnel in the field. In addition, study participants indicated a need to consider including forecast uncertainty and forecaster confidence in Spot Weather Forecasts and the challenges for both forecasters to do so and fire practitioners to use this information in risk analysis.
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