Google Maps tracks global warming with new “Fire” layer, Tree Canopy tool

By | September 30, 2021


Google Maps is getting a few new features to help people better understand our burning planet. The first is a new “fire” layer in the main map view, which will let you view the exact boundaries of a wildfire just as easily as you can look up the current traffic patterns. Google has done fire information before as part of the “crisis response” website, but with climate change making “Fire Season” a yearly occurrence in dry areas like Australia and the Western US, wildfires will now be a top-level Maps feature.

Google says the new fire level will bring “all of Google’s wildfire information together” in an easy interface. In the US, it will also pull in data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), and the company says it wants to expand fire detail with other government agencies, starting with Australia in “the coming months.” Wildfire boundaries should be updated on an hourly basis, and Google says you’ll be able to tap on a fire to see information from local governments, like “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 fire layout is rolling out to Android this week, with iOS and desktop coming in October.

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