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Data Resources

Sources of Digital Weather and Fire Records

FAMWEB Fire & Weather Data

(https://fam.nwcg.gov/fam-web/weatherfirecd/state_data.htm ) provides access to all archived daily fire weather records for NFDRS stations in the United States, both manual and automated. It also is the source of fire occurrence data for all federal agencies and some state agencies. These files are formatted for easy import into Firefamily Plus. Updated annually.

Kansas City Fire Access Software (KCFast)

(https://fam.nwcg.gov/fam-web/kcfast/mnmenu.htm) provides user requested access to archived and current weather records from NFDRS stations in the United States. Hourly records are stored for the most recent years and all daily records archived in the Weather Information Management System (WIMS) are available. Fire occurrence records are available as well. File formats are compatible with Firefamily Plus import. Updated daily.

Western Region Climate Center

(http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/wraws/) provides an archive to all Satellite (GOES) enabled RAWS stations. It is the most complete archive of hourly observations for the RAWS network. The interface provides many display alternatives (wind rose, summary tables, frequency distributions and station metadata). The data lister provides for data download of archived data with a user password. Updated hourly.

Climate, Ecosystem & Fire Applications (CEFA)

(http://cefa.dri.edu/raws/ ) provides hourly data as well. Enter a WIMS ID into this application to quickly export all hourly records dating back to when the solar radiation sensor was installed on that station. Updated monthly.

Mesowest

(http://mesowest.utah.edu/index.html) provides access to hourly data for a wide variety of weather stations across the United States.  Outputs include map displays, tables and graphs.  For users that want to download quantities of data, consider its Mesonet API (https://synopticlabs.org/api/mesonet/ ), where both adhoc queries and programmable requests can be formatted. Updated hourly.

Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM)

(https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/sites/locate.php) provides a range of products for a variety of networks around the world

Local Online resources

These and other resources should be considered and may be found by asking local managers and experts.  Some examples include:

Critique and Edit in Firefamily Plus

Firefamily Plus is fire and weather analysis software that is freely available at http://www.firemodels.org   and can be used effectively to review and edit archived weather records obtained from the sites listed above. Here are several steps that can help evaluate the weather record for time span, accuracy, and completeness. Once the records are imported:

  1. Evaluate the Active Working Set for the archive to determine if the record has a sufficient time span (15+ years) for climatological analyses
  2. Evaluate the completeness of the record by evaluating the data count for the archive. Does the station collect records year round? If not, what period of the year appears to have a relatively complete record?
  3. Evaluate individual data elements to determine the archive’s accuracy. Look for outliers among the basic data observations (Temp, RH, windspeed, precipitation, max & min values) by sorting records in ascending and descending order to locate erroneous values.
  4. Evaluate data elements and calculated components and indices by displaying climatology graphs (max, min) and individual years to find erroneous trends and outliers.
  5. Evaluate the wind rose to determine whether the station’s wind observations (speeds and directions) are representative of the fire situation being analyzed.

It may be appropriate to edit the records, which can be done in the “View Observations” table. Before changing archived observation, the record in question should be compared to those of surrounding stations. Any changes made, should be documented for the local fire management agency.