Remote weather stations help fire teams across the country

Posted at 8:50 AM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 10:50:20-04

BOISE, Idaho — When wildfires break out, crews use shovels and Pulaskis on the front whiles while planes drop retardant from the air. But a high-tech weapon you may not know about is also used.

The Remote Automated Weather Station, or RAWS, is used to monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists land management agencies with a variety of projects. The technology can monitor air quality, rate fire danger and provide information for research applications.

2,200 RAWS stations are in place right now throughout the country, all feeding back weather information to NIFC officials here in Boise.

"They can use that weather data to determine what the weather is doing and then make sound decisions on where to place the firefighters or just where to dispatch different uinits during the fire to basically protect property and lives," said Justin Dopp, from the Remote Sensing Fire Weather Support Unit.

A number of additional RAWS weather stations are stored here at the NIFC warehouse, ready to be deployed to the fire lines.