Friday, June 17, 2011

Wildfires And Forecasts - Would The Ft. Huachuca Weather Data Help?

The Army operates a vertical winds profiler at Ft. Huachuca, which is threatened by the Monument wildfire, along with nearby Sierra Vista and Hereford. The wind data are used by the Army primarily for operations of their tethered balloon system, but an earlier post this spring reported on the crash of that balloon. Since the crash the wind profiler has apparently been turned off. See above for current data available plot for Ft. Huachuca. With the critical Horseshoe 2 and now the Monument fire situation continuing for weeks, I am completely bewildered that one of the many Federal agencies involved in the fire fights has not convinced the Army to resume operating the wind profiler. On a related note, the Army operates a network of surface weather observing stations at Ft. Huachuca (or at least they did a few years ago). These stations (see photo below which shows an Army weather station at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah) are sited at a wide range of elevations and would also provide data critical for fire weather forecasting/monitoring. These data used to be accessible online, but the Army restricted access a number of years ago. I certainly hope that the Army is providing these data to the agencies fighting the wild fires.

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