Fire Danger Rating / Forecasting - Environmental - Environmental Monitoring

For various reasons, including the changing global climate, wildfires are getting bigger, more destructive and more expensive. Effective, consistent and reliable detection of climate parameters is the key to preventing wildfires and managing the impact they have. Our equipment resides for decades in solitary confinement generally in very remote areas (often at the tops of mountains or deep within a national forest), constantly measuring and recording weather data. Once per hour, this data is transmitted back to government agencies who will analyze and use it to make decisions critical to the safety of the public. In the United States, FTS works closely with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). The center’s mission is the complex interagency coordination of wildland firefighting resources for the country. One of the resources is the network of remote automated weather stations (RAWS), the vast majority of which are supplied by FTS.

FTS stations are in use by every one of the top 50 government forest management agencies in every corner of the United States and Canada. No one else dedicates as much of its research and development efforts to the needs of fire weather professionals. FTS portable and fixed-site weather stations set the standard for reliability and simplicity of operation, maintenance, and installation.

FTS supplies the equipment for the single largest fire weather network in the world.

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As a manufacturer, we design and engineer the leading datalogger that is approved and fully supported by the NIFC Remote Sensing Fire Weather Support Unit (RSFWSU). Our G5 GOES transmitter is recognized as the most reliable GOES / Meteosat technology available, and is licensed for use by other environmental monitoring equipment manufacturers.

  • In the US, fire weather stations are known as RAWS (Remote Automated Weather Stations).
  • Data from RAWS stations is used to calculate the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) fire danger indices, used by fire managers throughout the US.
  • The FTS RAWS station is used in all 50 states and is fully supported by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) depot in Boise, ID.
  • NIFC publishes stringent RAWS standards, and fully endorses the FTS RAWS station.
  • FTS gear is optimized with built-in features to support NFDRS maintenance standards.

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  1. Detection of both wildfire outbreak and environmental conditions that can make it likely for wildfires to start.
  2. Prevention using prescribed burns, which are monitored closely in real-time using portable versions of the larger fixed weather stations.
  3. Prediction of wildfire behavior through computer modeling based on conditions measured in real time. The data is also used to establish the fire danger rating.
  4. Warning of conditions that exceed a threshold by pushing alerts through communication channels such as computer-generated voice through two-way radio transceivers or SMS messaging.
  5. Monitoring of related environmental conditions such as air quality, and providing information for various research applications.

To determine the fire danger rating for multiple areas across North America, vast amounts of data are required. This data is continually fed from a large network of fixed (permanent) fire weather monitoring stations. Data for several weather parameters are collected via sensors and transmitted to a central receiver via GOES / Meteosat satellite or other telemetry. All sensors as well as the datalogger that controls the sensors and telemetry are mounted to a large, sturdy tower and powered by a solar panel and battery system. All the collected data is fed into computer modeling systems which compute the fire danger indices. These indices are used to make decisions which affect staffing and resource allocation.

Fire Managers, fire behavior analysts and incident meteorologists use RAWS weather data to predict fire behavior, prescription times, fire weather forecasting, canyon, and ridge top winds.

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