Predictive Services is used for three main functions. These services report fire weather, fire dangers or fuels, and provide intelligence or resource status information about a fire. Essentially, this service gives the Forest Service firefighters a forecast of the fires’ behavior.
Using Predictive Services, Forest Service meteorologists are able to predict fire behaviors as well as report conditions, potential fuels and dangers. These predictions are then used to support the fire fighters on the ground and in the air so that they can begin constructing firelines, dropping fire retardants and fighting the wildfire before it causes any further destruction.
Predictive Services is a program that was developed in order to help fire managers be more proactive in preventing, anticipating and responding to fire activity. This program is used to report fire weather, fire danger/fuels, and intelligence/resource status information. This information helps firefighters understand fire behavior. There are also meteorologists within the Predictive Services program that analyze weather conditions to help predict fire behavior. Predictive Services Wildland Fire Analysts also examine fuels and fire dangers near fire locations and help provide predictions and condition reports on wildfires.
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This weekly/monthly outlook report predicts wildland fire behaviors year-round across the United States. The report also shows maps of the United States with areas highlighted that have a below normal, normal and above normal fire potential outlook.
A prescribed, or controlled, burn is created by applying fire to an area of land. The purpose of this practice is to reduce fuels in order to prevent future out-of-control wildfires. Some natural areas require periodic fires in order to stimulate healthy plant growth, eradicate invasive species and prevent forest overgrowth. Without prescribed burning, some natural areas become extremely vulnerable to wildfire due to forest overgrowth, invasive plant species and forest crowding.