Surface Weather Map Fire Product Overlays Help Page

MesoWest has been designed for use by National Weather Service meteorologists and other professionals for protection of life and property. Comments/suggestions for improvement may be sent to

As mentioned in the Surface Weather Maps Help Page, the Surface Weather Maps allow the user to overlay fire product image layers onto the map.

To access these layers click "Active Fires" on the top menu bar of the map interface. Once clicked a menu will appear displaying the layer options.

Layers: The following layers are available for display...
GEOMAC Fire Perimeters: boundaries for large fires which are provided by the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group (GEOMAC).
Note: these boundaries may not be updated for several days.
NESDIS Smoke: satellite-detected smoke imagery from the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).
NESDIS Fire: satellite-detected fire "hot spots" from NESDIS.

Opacity Settings: These allow the user to control the transparency of the layer. Options from 0.12 to 1 are available, with 1 being completely opaque. Setting the opacity for certain layers will make it easier to visualize if dealing with multiple image layers at once.

Once finished click "Set Layers!" and the layers will load onto the map.

Additional Information on Fire Layers

According to the NESDIS Fire Detection program, the information on fire position should be used as general guidance and for strategic planning. Tactical decisions, such as the activation of a response to fight these fires or evacuation decisions should not be made without other information to corroborate the fire's existence and specific location. Users should note:

1) The products depict fires for approximately a calendar day at a given location. They are created and updated by a satellite analyst between 1:00 pm and 11:00 pm Eastern time. After 11:00 pm Eastern time, the analysis is fine-tuned using late evening satellite imagery as time permits. The final products for the previous day are "completed" for the archive prior to the beginning of the next day's fire shift, usually by about 6:00 am or 7:00 am Eastern time.

2) Widespread and/or persistent cloudiness may prevent fire and smoke detection in areas.

3) The fire sizes depicted in the product are primarily determined by the field of view of the satellite instrument, or the resolution of the analysis tool. The satellite-derived fire points should not be used to estimate specific fire perimeters or determine the exact location of a fire due to navigational uncertainties.

4) The time stamp and time range associated with the fire points do not infer when the fire was first detected or how long it has been burning.

5) Smoke areas are manually added by the fire analyst based on visible satellite imagery, with no information provided on what level in the atmosphere the smoke is actually present.

6) The assigned smoke concentration values represent an estimate of the smoke density and should be interpreted as the mid point in a range of values that the smoke contour depicts.