The West is going up in flames – there are so many fires right now it’s hard to keep track of them all. By now you’ve probably heard about the Waldo Canyon “super fire” tearing through the mountains in Colorado Springs, but you may not have heard as much about the other huge wildfires in the surrounding states. Google is tracking all of the fires in the west using their Crisis Response tool, and you can stay up to date with their interactive map showing where all the fires are, how big they’ve gotten, and any special alerts, closures, evacuations and shelter locations.
Based on Google’s 2012 US Wildfire Crisis Map, there are around 50 fires burning in the western US right now. You can zoom in on each state to see the boundaries of the fires and click to learn how many acres they have burned through. The Waldo Fire in Colorado is certainly a dangerous one that has consumed almost 18,000 acres, but the Fontanelle fire in Wyoming has destroyed 47,000 acres and the Clay Springs fire in central Utah has taken over 93,000 acres – and there are numerous other massive fires that wildland fire crews are trying to contain.
Google’s map shows where the fires are located, provides evacuation alerts, and shows the locations of shelters for both humans and animals. Updated constantly, these maps stand to help victims find the information they need quickly to get out of harm’s way. You can also turn the satellite imagery on and off to see the extent of the damage from the Waldo Fire. Currently this is the only crisis map Google is showing as they have deemed it the most important disaster in which they can assist.
The Google.org project’s goal is to make critical information on natural disasters and humanitarian crises more accessible through the use of technology and data. If you work with an organization that can provide critical and timely data to help alert the public in times of crisis, check out their resources for responders to see how you can become involved. For those who are or might be affected by a wildfire, check updates through the map and respond appropriately. Also be sure to read our article on how to protect your home from wildfires.
Images ©Wikimedia and Google Crisis Map