Google Maps Adds Wildfire Layer That Helps You Navigate To Safety

google maps wildfire

One of the most terrifying human experiences is escaping a wildfire. Sadly, many people die attempting to run from a raging wildfire each year, only to find themselves caught in the flames.

Wildfires spread rapidly and in a dramatic fashion. Often, people feel they have more time than they do. Because many people aren’t prepared to flee, they spend too much time grabbing essential items when they should be fleeing the scene. 

Unfortunately, wildfire warning systems often don’t give way to enough advanced warning to save all lives. Attempting to escape a wildfire last minute is worsened when the person has no idea which routes are safest to navigate.

Google Maps now looks to improve the odds of escaping a wildfire last minute. Google Earth & Images Director Rebecca Moore announced the addition of a new wildfire layer to Google Maps. In Moore’s blog post, she says Google Maps will leverage satellite data to “help people in the U.S. easily understand the approximate size and location of a fire.” In addition, Google Maps will also help convey emergency services and evacuation routes information to those in a wildfire threat area. 

“With the wildfire layer, you can get up-to-date details about multiple fires at once, allowing you to make quick, informed decisions during times of emergency,” Moore wrote. “Just tap on a fire to see available links to resources from local governments, such as emergency websites, phone numbers for help and information, and evacuation details. When available, you can also see important details about the fire, such as its containment, how many acres have burned, and when all this information was last reported.”

The wildfire layer makes its way on Android devices as early as this week. Google plans to launch it across IOS devices in October. 

Data on where a wildfire burns can be vital, lifesaving information. That said, it’s best to heed early warnings if any are given. Wildfires can move at high rates of speed. If conditions are ripe, wildfires also expand feverishly, often taking people by surprise. 

Make sure you have a wildfire preparedness plan

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

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