Where do you get your weather information?

Wildland firefighters sometimes get obsessive about one-third of the Fire Behavior Triangle. When you arrive at a wildland fire, you can assess the topography and the fuel, and what you see will not change a great deal in the near future.Fire_Behavior_Triangle

But weather is dynamic and can change in the blink of an eye. Skilled wildland firefighters become skilled at predicting how the weather will affect their fire in the near term.

The size-up of a fire begins before you arrive at the scene. Part of size-up is monitoring the weather conditions and forecasts.

Where do you get your weather information on the Internet?

Dick suggested that we collect information from our loyal readers about great sources of weather data and forecasts. Let us know in a comment what your favorite sources are.

To make it easier for others to go to your recommended sites, and if you feel like making them an actual clickable link, use the format below for the link. Use it exactly as below, but replace Name Of Link with the informal (but short) name of the site or data. And replace WebAddress with, yes, the web address or URL, such as http://www.weathersite.com ┬áLeave the quotation marks in place, just replace what’s between them.

<a href=”WebAddress”>Name Of Link</a>

But if you don’t feel like attempting to make the link, no problem, I’ll edit the comments to make them into clickable links.

And please include a short description of what is at the link.

I’ll start with a few of my favorite weather links.

OK, that’s just a start. What are YOUR favorite weather sites?

Air tanker crash in Nevada kills pilot

An air tanker crashed while working on the Hoyt fire in Nevada on Thursday, killing the pilot. Our sincere condolences to the family and co-workers.

From the Missoulian:

A Missoula-area pilot died Thursday when his single-engine air tanker plane crashed while dropping retardant on a forest fire 125 miles northeast of Reno, Nev.

The pilot’s name was Dave Jamsa, and he’d worked at Minuteman Aerial Applications Inc. for four years. The company is a sister corporation of Minuteman Aviation Inc., based at Missoula International Airport. Jamsa had a wife and four children in Missoula.

“He was trying to make his drop when he crashed,” Minuteman director of operations Forrest Gue said Friday morning. “We’re doing everything we can to find out why it happened.”

Jamsa’s plane was one of six SEAT planes working on the Hoyt Fire on Thursday, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesman Mark Struble. The 2,000-acre fire is burning in pinon-juniper trees, sagebrush and grass, and is about 5 percent contained.

The aircraft that crashed was similar to this one. Photo: Minuteman Aerial Application

“SEATs are used quite a bit by BLM in this country,” Struble said on Friday. “They carry a load that seems to work really well with our kind of fires. They can get into much tighter country, and lower, than the multi-engine bombers.”

The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Jamsa was airlifted from the crash site to medical facilities in Locklock, Nev., where he was pronounced dead. No one else was injured in the crash. The aircraft that crashed was similar to this one. Photo: Minuteman Aerial Application

The plane was an Air Tractor AT-802A, one of four Minuteman Aerial Applications operates out of Missoula. It is a modified crop-duster carrying 800 gallons of retardant and a single pilot. Minuteman has used the planes for firefighting since 1999.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending investigators to study the crash. No other Minuteman or affiliated aircraft are affected by the review, according to Minuteman Aerial Applications president Mark Mamuzich.

“We’re mostly initial attack,” Mamuzich said on Friday. “We get out there and try to knock things down before they get too big. They’re a very effective tool. The SEATs have really proved themselves over the years. Unfortunately we had this mishap.”

Plans for a memorial service for Jamsa had not been finalized Friday.

Esperanza arsonist’s brother-in-law wanted for jury tampering

This is one of those holyshit stories. Christopher Vaugn Hillman, the brother-in-law of Raymond Lee Oyler who was convicted and sentenced to death for starting dozens of fires, including the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five US Forest Service firefighters, is wanted by law enforcement for tampering with the jury during Oyler’s trial.

Christopher Vaugn Hillman

Riverside County prosecutors in southern California have filed charges against Hillman for allegedly putting fliers of newspaper articles on the windows of juror’s cars. The fliers described evidence that the judge had ruled to be excluded from the trial. During the February trial, three jurors found them during a noon recess and sheriff’s deputies located four more.

The fliers had information about a US Forest Service employee who had been investigated for starting fires in the same general area as the Esperanza fire. Law enforcement officers found Hillman’s fingerprints on the fliers and this month went to his house with a search warrant, but he fled when they arrived and has not been seen since.

An arrest warrant has been issued and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information on the man’s whereabouts is urged to call the district attorney’s office at (951) 955-5400.

The firefighters that died were from San Bernardino National Forest Engine 57. They were Capt. Mark Allen Loutzenhiser, 43, and crew members Pablo Cerda, 24, Jason Robert McKay, 27, Jess Edward McLean, 27, and Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20.

Site for medium and long-range weather outlooks

Dick just pointed out to us a nifty web site where you can very easily, by mousing-over links, see medium to long range weather outlooks. It is the www.cpc.noaa.gov site, and includes these weather forecast products:

  • Outlooks for temperature and precipitation, for 6-10 days, 8-14 days, one month, and three months.
  • “Hazards assessment” for temperature/wind, precipitation, and soil/wildfire.
  • Drought monitor and drought outlook

This is a very handy, fast, one-page source. 

California state regulators halt power company’s power shutoff plan

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a temporary order blocking the plan by San Diego Gas and Electric to preemptively shut off the electricity for up to 150,000 people at a time when the fire danger meets their predetermined criteria. SDG&E had expected to implement the plan on September 1, but the commission put a halt to it at least until they can meet on September 10.

Photo: ginsnob / Flickr

The power company has said shutting off the electricity during dry and windy conditions would prevent fires that could be started by their power lines. Many groups are opposed to the plan, including schools, water districts, and disabled people who rely on life-sustaining equipment. One study found that there are 900 people in the affected area with chronic medical problems. Of those, 590 rely on electrical equipment for thier well being.

SDG&E’s outage plan

Body of helicopter pilot found

The body of Robert Christopher Woodhead, the 53-year old helicopter pilot who had been missing after his firefighting helicopter crashed into the Fraser River in British Columbia on Friday, has been found. It was located just south of Saddle Rock, near Spuzzum. 

Mr. Woodhead was piloting a Bell 212 and attempting to fill his water bucket when the ship crashed into the river. 

The helicopter company he worked for is planning a tribute on Sunday in Lillooet on the bridge over the Fraser River.