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

Monday, 17 November 2003
Future of All-Risk Incident Meteorology
Margaret A. Querciagrossa-Sand, Northtree Fire International, Monterey, CA; and J. Stutler, S. Goldwater, and G. Bennett
Poster PDF (256.6 kB)
The National Weather Service (NWS) has been a major contributor to the success of the U.S. Wildfire Program for over 67 years. During that time, Incident Meteorologists, (IMETís) have delivered predictive services that have allowed Incident Managers to fight fires aggressively while maintaining a high level of safety. After the South Canyon Fire in 1994, OSHA citations resulted in federal Wildland agencies requiring an IMET assignment for each Type I and Type II team where a Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN) was assigned.

Following a series of budget cuts to the NWS Fire Weather program since 1981, Congress directed the NWS to eliminate non-federal/non-wildfire services in 1996. Now, NOAA must meet Congressional requirements to reduce the size of government. To meet these mandates, the NWS is rapidly becoming a Data and Warning Center and already has eliminated most ďdedicated fire weather meteorologistsĒ positions.

All this is happening as the scope of the Incident Command Team broadens. After the tragedy of 9-11, Federal Incident Command Teams are being called to work more varied ďall risk incidentsĒ that requires IMETs role to expand. All the while, numbers of qualified IMETís are decreasing. Who can fill this increasing void?

NorthTree Fire International, a private company with experience in public/private partnerships and one of the largest wildfire contractors to the Federal Government, has initiated the first All-Risk Incident Meteorology Program within the Private Sector. The Northtree Fire program will use only highly qualified and experienced IMETís combined with state of the art technology that most government agencies cannot afford. The Northtree Fire Weather program includes a training and predictive services component.

While augmenting the federal governmentís capabilities in these areas, it is Northtree Fire Internationalís goal to set the standard for All-Risk Incident Meteorology program.

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