Robert Rickey starts his day before sunrise.

Its a giant balloon with a sensor on the bottom as it goes up in the atmosphere it records temperatures, humidity, and winds, said Robert Rickey, an incident meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

He works to gather critical information to create a fire forecast.”

Wind speeds tell us a large part where the fire is going and how fast it is going to get there, said Rickey.

Rickey works for the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.

Ive been an IMET for about seven seasons now, said Rickey.

He has special training as an incident meteorologist and is one of only about 100 in the U.S., all creating and communicating a very different kind of weather forecast.

We may talk about how the winds are going to flow up and down in a drainage or how humidity is going to vary from one side of a ridge to another, said Rickey.

Its a job meant to protect the public but also all the fire crews on the ground.

A lot of firefighters have been lost due to unexpected changes in the weather, said Rickey.

IMETs are deployed on the front lines with these crews covering the entire country.

A lot of it is on-the-job training and going out to fires and working with certified IMETs, said Rickey.

And using different tools to get the most accurate readings like these remote automated weather stations placed strategically throughout the fire and surrounding areas.

We can use those weather stations to monitor trends, said Rickey.

However, communication is the key to his job and he has to break down forecasts into more digestible information.

A perfect forecast really doesnt help anyone if they dont understand it, said Rickey.

Rickey has been deployed to 25 fires across nine states and its not just wildfires that IMETs can go to. They are also sent to flooding, oil spills, and other natural disasters.

When I get deployed to a fire and I spend time with the crews in the field and I get to see and experience the fires, its like nothing I experience in my regular life, said Rickey.