On Wednesday, Google said it’s adding a new wildfire layer to Google Maps, which users will be able to turn on to see the latest details about multiple fires at once. This can be essential during fire season when many fires may burn simultaneously.
The new layer will show “most major fires that cause significant evacuations,” according to Google, as well as many smaller fires in the United States. Users will be able to tap a fire on the map for links to details such as emergency websites and information about evacuations. In the US, there will also be data about containment, number of acres burned, road closures, and evacuations. Google Maps plans to expand this feature later this year to Australia, which has also been hit by devastating wildfires in recent years.
Google Maps has a number of existing layers to choose from, such as one that offers Covid-19 data and another that can show bike paths. Over a billion people use Google Maps each month, Google said.
“When they happen, they’re important for locals to know about,” Comertoglu said.