Having accurate wildfire data during an active blaze can help save lives and inform critical evacuation decisions. Amidst the wildfires ravaging California, Google Maps has launched a new service that provides real time wildfire boundary data.
The program was piloted last year in California and will soon be available across the entire US. To access the data, simply type in the name of an active wildfire on Google Maps and the service will provide a map of the blaze and information on road closures. The platform will also provide users with directions that help them avoid danger and roadblocks.
When it comes to fire mapping, generally there is either not enough information available or too much to reasonably sort through. Created in conjunction with California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the new service compiles this data into one user-friendly database for fast and reliable information.
The maps are generated from data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES satellites and processed by Google’s geospatial analysis platform, Earth Engine.
As climate change fuels even more intense fire seasons across the western United States, resources like this will be critical in keeping citizens safe and informed.