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Google Maps starts showing wildfire boundaries, nearly in real-time

As wildfires are raging in California, Google Maps is adding a new feature to keep people safe. Starting today, the entire US can search for information on wildfires through Google and see maps that help keep them safe.

If you search for nearby wildfires or a specific, ongoing fire by name, Google will now bring up SOS alerts in both Search and Maps which show an approximate boundary for the fire along with road closures. This quickly-accessible info gives users a scope of the size of the fire, the spread, and how it might affect them. When searching for areas affected by the fire, too, Google will show an alert about the situation.

What’s especially impressive about this, however, is that Google is updating this information essentially in real-time. Using satellite data from NOAA, this information is updated hourly which can help save lives. The feature was originally piloted in California last year, but now the feature is available to the entire United States.

Today we’re launching a new wildfire boundary map in Search and Maps SOS alerts in the U.S. to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire. In moments like a growing wildfire, knowing exactly where a blaze is underway and how to avoid it is critical. Using satellite data to create a wildfire boundary map, people will now see the approximate size and location right on their phone or desktop. 

This feature should be available to all users in the US today and Google has plans to expand to other countries in the future.

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