How to Get Real-Time Wildfire Updates From Google

Wildfires are a necessary and natural part of a forest’s life cycle, but in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number and intensity of uncontrolled wildfires in the summer months – ask any Californian. Fortunately, new tools in Google Search and Google Maps can keep you updated on the status of nearby fires and help you stay safe. Here’s a quick guide on how to use them.

Detect and track nearby fires in Google Search and Google Maps

Now you can get the latest information on any wildfire in the United States using Google Search or Google Maps on iOS , Android and the web . Just search for a wildfire by name or region to see Google SOS alerts, which include emergency contact information, recent news, social media alerts, and links to open the fire location in Google Maps.

The reddish areas shown on the map outline the approximate fire area and are constantly updated hourly based on satellite information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Google Maps will also help you navigate areas where roads are blocked by nearby fires, which is important for anyone driving through fire zones or, God forbid, planning a hasty evacuation.

Track US wildfires with Google Crisis Map

Besides Google Maps and Google search, Google also has a dedicated crisis maps website specifically for tracking wildfires . The map displays:

  • Areas to “watch” (pink) or “warn” (red) for new forest fires.
  • Current national and local burn information based on InciWeb data (you can click / tap on burn on the map to see the latest localization level updates).
  • Alerts for areas with risk of fire, unsafe air quality and other hazards as reported by weather.gov and earthquakes.usgs.gov.
  • Traffic conditions via Google Maps.

These are all important data during the bushfire season, but mostly data at the surface level. Google recommends using Google Search or Google Maps instead if you’re looking for detailed reports of the current California bushfire crisis (or other specific fires, for that matter).

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