For years, parts of the United States have been plagued by deadly wildfires that have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Forest fires are fickle, and it’s hard to know if your home will be affected the next time.
That was until Google Maps started posting a map of the forest fire boundaries last year. With AI technology, Google Maps could show you where wildfires were and where they ended. Tap or click here to discover 10 ways to use Google Maps Street View that you’ve never thought of before.
Now a new update is underway providing real-time updates known as Forest Fire Layers. These updates allow you to track more than one fire at a time and provide more valuable details if you are in a danger zone. Here’s how to track the spread of forest fires with the new Google Maps feature.
Wildfire layer on Google Maps
Previously, Google Maps had a wildfire boundary map that could show you the location and size of a fire. It uses satellites to detect the perimeters of the fire in question. But this new update, rolled out to Android devices, does much more.
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With the new layer functionality, you will receive real-time updates on the location of a fire and the damage it has caused. Wildfire Layer will show you when the last update was done, allowing you to schedule emergency evacuations and know if your home will be affected.
When you find a fire that affects you, tap it on Google Maps. The tool will show you the location and size of the forest fire and has built-in features to help you stay safe. Here are some tools you can use:
- What resources local governments can offer you.
- Relevant phone numbers for help and information about forest fires in your area.
- Assessment details.
- How much damage has been done so far.
This feature will be rolled out strictly in the United States for now, but will roll out to countries experiencing wildfires, such as Australia, in the coming months.
How to use the wildfire layer in Google Maps
Once your Google Maps app gets the update, using the forest fire layer feature is straightforward.
Just tap the layers icon on the explore screen. It looks like two diamonds stacked up. A menu will appear with a new wildfire icon. Tap the wildfire icon and the map will display all active wildfires. Select a specific fire and Google Maps will give you all of its details, including the exact fire limit.
I have an iPhone, what about me?
While the update is only available to Android users this week, iPhone users won’t have to wait too long to access this revolutionary new feature.
Google Maps plans to expand to iOS and desktop computers soon, focusing primarily on large fires causing massive evacuations first.
Live in California or other major areas that have been affected. The new Wildfire Layer feature could soon make a difference in your communities.