How to Use Google Maps to Track Wildfires.
If you live in a wildfire-prone area or have a loved one who does, then tracking wildfires on Google Maps is a must. You can see where the fires are located, how widespread they are, and how well they are contained.
What’s great about this Google Maps feature is that it’s available online and on the Google Maps mobile app. This allows you to keep up with wildfires wherever you are.
Google Maps Wildfire Tracking on the Web
Go to the Google Maps website to view wildfire tracking in just a few steps. You can sign in with your Google account if you want, but it’s not required.
Find a location or use the current one. Then select the “Layers” icon in the lower left corner of the screen. When it appears with options, select More.
The Layers window will open with the Wildfires layer you can select. Once selected, you’ll see a toggle at the bottom of the screen. This means that the Forest Fires layer is enabled for the area.
Each registered wildfire is identified by a red and white flame icon. Select any of these icons to view more information.
When you select the fire icon, this opens a panel on the left side. You can see when the last update was reported for that location, the percentage of fires contained, and the number of acres burned. If a wildfire has a name, you will also see that.
You can close the panel by clicking the X in the top right corner. Then use the same steps you would normally take to move around the map if you want to view other recorded wildfires.
To learn more about this feature from Google, use the “Learn About Fire Zones” link in the sidebar.
Disable Web Wildfire Tracking
You can disable wildfire tracking if you have other things to do on Google Maps, such as setting your own route for a trip or looking for a family member.
Use the switch at the bottom to disable the feature and return to the original map view. The switch will disappear after a few seconds.
Alternatively, you can select the layer icon to enable this feature and then deselect the Wildfires layer to disable it.
Google Maps Wildfire Tracking in the Mobile App
If you’re on the go, you can view the wildfire tracking on Google Maps on your mobile device. To get started, open the Google Maps app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad.
You can search for a location or use the current one. Then tap the Layers icon in the top right corner below the search box on the home screen. Select the Wildfires layer to turn it on and press X to close the layers window.
Just like on the web, you can select the red and white flame icon to get more information about the fire. A window will open at the bottom of the screen with details of the latest upgrade, percentage, and acres burned. Lightly swipe up from the bottom to see all the information.
Once you’re done, swipe down to close that fire’s details, and then select a different one to view details about it if you’d like.
You can use your fingers to zoom in or out as usual on Google Maps.
Exit Wildfire Tracking in the Mobile App
Click on the arrow in the top left when you track the wildfire. You will return to the main Google Maps screen and turn off the Wildfires layer at the same time.
Want to learn how to use other similar features in Google Maps? Take a look at all the possibilities of street view!