5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Monday, 17 November 2003
FX-Net, New Operational Technology for the Incident Meteorologist
Robert P. Nester, NOAA/NWS, Missoula, MT; and L. Vanbussem

FXNet is the latest technology Incident Meteorologists (IMETS) have at their disposal to collect meteorological data while onsite at wildland fires. During the fire season of 2002 FXNet was used in select areas to test the equipment and get the IMETís feedback on how it could be improved for their use in the field. FXNet is better than any of its predecessors as a means of collecting meteorological data for the IMET because it is faster, more reliable, easier to set up and obtain data from most remote locations. There is also less need to rely on certain needs that the Incident Management Team (IMT), such as power and phone lines, two things that used to be critical in order to obtain meteorological information in a remote area. FXNet makes it look and feel like, to some extent, that the IMET is actually working out of the forecast office, anaylyzing meteorological data by looking at a replica of AWIPS and many of its functions, all on the IMETís laptop.

The purpose of this paper is to explain what FXNet is, how it works, and how it benefits IMET. This benefit for the IMET is translated into increased safety for the firefighter and improved planning for the IMT in order to help protect property and save lives. The IMET also works with all hazards, chemical spills, thus FXNet will also be used as the tool used to access meteorological data for all Hazards.

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