The U.S. National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is used by all federal and most state fire management agencies for assessing seasonal fire severity across the nation. The application that hosts the NFDRS is the Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management’s (WO F&AM) Weather Information Management System (WIMS) located at the USDA National Information Technology Center in Kansas City, Missouri. WIMS ingests hourly weather observations from more than 1,800 Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) across the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
In 2015 FMI staff continued leading the science and technical implementation of NFDRS 2016 in the WIMS development environment.
- Continue testing the Growing Season Index in an operational environment. Developed by FMI staff scientist, Dr. W. Matt Jolly it will replace the current NFDRS live fuel moisture model in 2016.
- Added the 5 fuel models that will be the core of the NFDRS 2016,
- Enable WIMS to use the Nelson dead duel moisture model for all time lag fuel classes.
- Enable hourly NFDRS outputs based on the Nelson model.
They also collaborated with various partners to:
- Monitor the testing phase of the seven-day forecasting scheme at two National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices (Bismark and Grand Forks, North Dakota) for forecasting NFDRS indices. It is anticipated this tool will be distributed throughout the NWS for the 2016 fire season.
- Implement the FW13 data exchange format into the static F&AM Fire & Weather Web Application for historical weather access.
- Add 21 Automated Surface Observation Stations (ASOS) from Texas to the daily NFDRS observation suite, making Texas the 3rd state mesonet to be included in WIMS.
- Add 58 stations from the Kansas Agricultural Mesonet to the NFDRS observation suite, using only the NFDR 2016 models. This makes Kansas the 4th state mesonet in WIMS.
FMI staff participated in WIMS training classes in Kentucky, Idaho, and California and provided national technical support for WIMS through the National Fire Applications Help Desk. They assisted in resolving 27 elevated tickets on WIMS technical issues in 2015.