Searching for the latest details about wildfires just got easier on Google Maps — and not just the ones nearby.
Last year Google added more wildfire info in Google Maps and Search, but only if you looked up a specific fire or pulled up driving directions that went through a fire zone, like the Caldor fire in California — as seen burning above. Now the Maps app will show all wildfire information about multiple fires with a dedicated layer.
If you click the layers icon in the app, which looks like a diamond on top of another diamond, you’ll notice a new fiery icon next to the “transit,” traffic,” and even “COVID-19” layers. It’s clearly labeled “Wildfires.”
That pulls up all active fires, no matter how zoomed in or out you are on the map. So you can see all the fires in the Pacific Northwest down to the California/Mexico border on one screen. When you click on a specific fire you’ll see more details and an exact boundary.
Data from the National Interagency Fire Center will show evacuation details, emergency websites and numbers, along with details about the blaze like containment level and acreage burned. Hopefully the map will also provide context in the future, giving the user info about prescribed fires, and describing not just the size, but the severity of destructive ones.
The wildfire layer launches for Android users in the U.S. this week. For iOS and desktop users it’ll be available later in October. The new layer will be available with information about Australian wildfires by the end of the year.