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State & Regional

New Google Maps feature details active wildfires

David Winegar

Google Maps will soon launch a new feature that shows the location of active wildfires. 

Google says this new maps filter will show where fires are burning and, when you click on it, will give emergency resources related to the fire.

Vanessa Schneider’s crisis response team worked on this at Google. 

“It’s important to also pair that geospatial information with things like emergency phone numbers, emergency websites, evacuation information. So whenever that information is available, we try to surface that within the Google Maps layer, itself.”

The filter will show major fires globally and smaller wildfires around the U.S. thanks to the National Interagency Fire Center. That Boise-based organization works with several governmental agencies to aggregate fire data.

But, Schneider says fires can move fast, so look to local officials when it comes to the latest information or evacuation orders.

Expect the new feature to show up on filters in Google Maps in the coming weeks. 

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.