SJSU Fire Weather Team Helps Crews in Sonoma County

Among those making trips to the fire lines in Sonoma County were a group of San Jose State students and their professor. But it's no ordinary class field trip.

They are highly trained meteorologists, working with cutting edge technology that can actually help firefighters battle the raging Kincade Fire in the North Bay.

The equipment used by the SJSU team tracks what the wind and flames are likely to do next. So, as firefighters fought the flames, the SJSU weather team measured it.

Tracking the winds helps fire crews know what's coming next and which way the fire is likely to go.

"The most important thing for us is to collect these unique observations using the Doppler radar and our wind profiling system because those data are important to understand how fires create their own weather and how that may change the fire’s behavior," professor Craig Clements said.

Clements leads the school’s fire weather research lab. They travel towards the fire, posting information on Twitter for firefighters to check in real time.

"What we can offer is those data sets to the people who really care, and we can offer it firsthand, as fast as they need it," meteorology student Jackson Yip said.

The team has been to the Kincade Fire twice so far. They’re back on campus to download data, and they said they’re likely to head back up again soon.

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