Spot Requestor Instructions

You can request spot forecasts via our spot forecast page located at http://www.weather.gov/spot, which is easily reached from our main website at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jan.

The main spot forecast page updates every minute and shows the location, type, and status of any spot forecast that has already been requested. You can view these other forecasts as well as request a new spot forecast of your own.

Each request has its own webpage where all the information about that request is displayed, including maps, information about the request and the forecast. Sensitive information about the request such as phone numbers, names of contact persons, and the exact location of the burn are NOT visible by everyone - but only on the computer that made the original request and NWS computers.

When you request a new spot forecast, you provide information in a web-based form. After you complete the form, the information you provide is checked for consistency, the NWS is notified of a new request, and a new webpage is created for the burn.

Once you have submitted a request, you can view the webpage for your burn - or check back frequently to view it's status. To view the webpage for any burn or wildfire, go to the main spot forecast webpage, click either on the name of the burn in the listing or on the dot on the map for the burn. This page will also automatically update every minute so that when new information becomes available, you will see it right away. If we find any errors in your request, we might even send you a question that will show up on this page. You can answer the question or make other changes to your request from this webpage. Since the forecast screen is automatically updated very minute, you will see the forecast within a minute of it being issued.

When the forecast is complete, you can print the webpage or do whatever you want with the information. From the main spot forecast page, you have the ability to switch to a similar screen for days other than today. You can use this to send us feedback on earlier forecasts, or to copy the information from one request to a new request for today.

If you have any questions or problems, we are still available by phone at (601) 936-2189.

 

Spot Forecast Monitor Page
The main spot forecast monitoring page shows you all of today's spot forecasts on the map and also in the list at the bottom of the page. The icons on the map show the locations of the burns and the status of the spot forecast requests. Green icons indicate requests that are still pending. Purple icons indicate burns where questions have been asked. Red icons indicate burns where the forecast has been completed. You can either click on the icons on the map or the list of spot names at the bottom of the page to view the individual webpage for each request. You can click on the Calendar button above the legend to view spot requests from other days.

Spot Request Form
You fill in this form with the information needed to request a spot forecast. The elements highlighted in red are required for us to complete your spot forecast. While the other items may not be necessary, they are very important to our ability to make an accurate and useful forecast.


The form is broken down into seven sections. Let's look at each section individually and the parameters you will need to fill in:

  • Incident Location
    In this section, tell us the precise location of the burn. You can either specify  the address of the location, the legal location or the latitude/longitude. The elevation (in feet) at the top or bottom of the burn should be entered in the "Elevation" box. You can also drag the map icon to your specific burn location.
  • Incident Type
    Simply click on what kind of burn or incident that you are requesting this forecast for. You can then move on to the next step of the form by clicking on the 'Generate A Spot Request' form.
  • Contact Information 
    First, provide a name for your project. The name cannot be the same as any other project for the same day - you will be alerted if you pick the name of an existing burn. Then, tell us who you are. Please provide your agency name, your name, phone number, and email address. All this information will be helpful to us if there are problems or questions and we need to contact you. 
  • Location
    This information will be automatically filled in based on your input in the first part of the spot form. Here, you can also indicate the elevations for both the top and bottom of your burn. If you can also, please specify the name of the 7 ½ minute USGS quadmap where the burn is located. This will be checked against the legal or lat/lon location you give.
  • Fire Weather Supplemental Information
    This information is not necessary to generate a spot forecast but can be helpful when you need precise information. Enter the name of the nearest drainage. This helps us further locate the burn when the legal or lat/lon location still leaves some ambiguity. Enter the slope aspect such as NE or S (or possibly FLAT) in the "Aspect" box. This helps us further locate the burn. Also, please enter the size of the burn (in acres) in the "Size" box. Please indicate the type of fuel, either using fuel model numbers or a description of the fuel such as "grass", "ponderosa pine", etc. Also, if you can indicate the amount of fuel sheltering, it helps us tremendously in providing accurate wind forecasts.
  • Forecast Elements
    First off, indicate when you need the forecast by in the "Deliver Forecast" section. Next, indicate when you would like your forecast to begin in the "Forecast Starting" section. Then, indicate what days you need the forecast for (i.e. today, tonight, and/or tomorrow) and which forecast elements (i.e. sky/weather, temperature, humidity, and/or wind) are important to you. You can also select the increments (i.e. 2, 3, or 4 hrs) in which your forecast will be generated. All of this information is important because if, for instance, you have a grass fire that will be out by later today, we don't want to waste time worrying about the temperature for tomorrow unless you really need it. *Note: If we think something is particularly noteworthy, we will let you know - even if you didn't request it. If you are submitting a request in the evening for the next day - keep in mind that you are requesting parameters for the day of the burn. For wildfires, we will provide all parameters (except smoke dispersion), so you do not need to waste time filling this in, unless you have a parameter that is particularly critical for you (in which case, this is a good place to indicate that).
  • Remarks 
    If there is something else that you think we need to know, or something you couldn't fit elsewhere on the form, please enter it here. There is virtually no limit to what you can put here.
  • Observation
    In this section you provide us with local observations near the burn. For each observation, we need the observation site information (for example, "base camp", "1 mile NW" or etc.), the date, the time, and the elevation in feet. The wind (in miles per hour) can be specified as "N12 Gust 25" or something like that. The temperature and wetbulb values (in °F) should be entered. The RH (in %) and Dewpoint (in °F) can also be entered if known (but will be calculated from the Temperature/Wetbulb/Elevation if not provided). Finally, any remarks about clouds, weather or other important information can be entered in the final box. If you have more than 4 observations (and we like that!) please put them in the remarks section.    
  • Submit the form
    When you submit the form, various checks are performed on the data you have entered. Some problems make it impossible for your request to be accepted. For example, if you forget to enter a name for the burn. Other issues will produce warnings and messages for your information. If an error is found, you will be given the opportunity to go back and fix the form or cancel the request. Once there are no more errors in your request, it will be submitted and we will be automatically notified through our computer systems.

Spot Forecast Webpage
After you have submitted a spot forecast request, an individualized spot forecast webpage becomes available for that burn. This page automatically updates every minute so that as new information becomes available for the burn, you see it immediately. Keep in mind that "sensitive" information like your name, phone number, and the exact location of the burn are NOT visible to others - only to you and the NWS.

If we have questions about your request, we may send you back a question about it. If this happens, you will see a big red box in the forecast page, with our question. Usually, there is some problem with the request that you can probably fix (use the links at the bottom of the page to change the request) or you can call us.

When your forecast is complete, it will show up in the spot forecast webpage automatically, and a box to provide feedback will become available. We hope that you can provide us feedback with how the forecast worked out, perhaps later in the day or several days down the road. This feedback helps us tremendously in improving our forecasts.

At the bottom of the forecast page are links for actions that you can take. For example, you can go "Back to Spot List" to return to the monitor page. If you are at the same computer that made the original request, you can click on "Change Request" to change the details of your request, or "Delete Request" to delete the request.

You can also click on "Copy Info to New Spot Request". This is helpful for burns that last over several days. Rather than having to re-enter the data in the form in order to get a new forecast - you can view the previous forecast and then copy all the location parameters to a new request using this link. This will save you some time when filling out the request form.

Invariably, something will go wrong at some point, and you might not be able to request or receive spot requests via the webpage (for example, your computers might go down, or our web server may fail). In such cases, we would like you fill out the paper version of the request form and fax it to us. We will fax you back the forecast when it is complete. Please keep in mind that this should be used as a last resort. Spot Forecast Requests received via the webpage will be completed more quickly.

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