Google Used To Track California Fires

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Google’s products and services can’t don fire gear or grab a water hose.  But people are still using them in ways that will hopefully reduce the impact of the California fires.

Google Maps and Google Earth have been helpful in other emergencies; both the flooding in England and the bridge collapse in Minnesota saw them receive international attention.  Now, it’s possible that information available on the two programs will save some lives.

The Google LatLong Blog points to a KPBS map “that includes up-to-date news on the spread of the fire and shows the location of evacuated areas, Red Cross evacuation centers, and closed highways.”  It’s likely that firefighters will use the information to plan their activities.  At the very least, the map should, as in those previous instances, keep everyone aware of the ongoing issues.

There are also maps featuring imagery from the U.S. Forest Service and NASA, as well as one showing time-lapse animations.  Yahoo’s even getting in on the story thanks to Flickr, where hundreds of photos related to the fires have been posted.

The only unfortunate thing about the Internet companies’ involvement is a Google Trends report; searches related to Stevenson Ranch are common enough to have been called “on fire.”

Google Used To Track California Fires
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