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Santa Barbara Co. Fire Dept. announces installation of new weather system

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 20:49:33-05

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department announced Tuesday they have a new Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) in Santa Barbara County.

This is the ninth weather station in the county and it is located in the Purisima Hills area.

Fire officials say the project was installed on land owned by Sentinel Peak Resources near the Burton Mesa communities of Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills, and Mesa Oaks.

According to a press release, there are nearly 2,200 interagency Remote Automated Weather Stations strategically located throughout the United States.

These stations monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists land management agencies with a variety of projects such as monitoring air quality, rating fire danger, and providing information for research applications.

The Purisima Hills RAWS unit will provide real-time weather data every hour to assist fire managers with determining Fire Danger Ratings for the Santa Barbara Central Coast Fire Danger Rating Area (FDRA).

Weather data includes temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, and dry vegetation fuel moisture.

Fire officials say the data will contribute to more effective fire business management decisions including fire resource staffing levels, resource pre-positioning, and fire district project activity levels. The weather data is sent via satellite to various government agencies and ultimately stored permanently by the Western Region Climate Center.

The data is accessible by the public via the internet and freely available at all times. The data will also contribute to the ongoing efforts by the National Weather Service to model and predict the local fire weather conditions that have contributed to multiple disastrous wildfires in Santa Barbara County.