Record-breaking high temperatures, drought and strong winds have fueled intense wildfires across Colorado. And as other recent disasters have shown, the Internet has become a source for situational awareness data. Whether it’s looking at what the public is posting on social media sites or aggregating information from government sources, Web-based tools are providing important information to not only citizens but also public-sector agencies and first responders.
Esri maintains a continuously updated map of wildfires throughout the nation, including those in Colorado that have forced 32,000 people to evacuate from their homes and businesses. The map integrates the locations of wildfires, fire potential areas, global burn areas and precipitation. The map also pulls in tweets, YouTube videos and photos from Flickr to provide a look into what the public is sharing online.
See the full version of Esri's map.
The Google Crisis Response team released a fire resource map that provides national and local wildfire-related data. The map pulls in data from the U.S. Geological Survey to show active fire perimeters, and information about Colorado’s fires is provided by the state’s Division of Emergency Management.
See the full version of Google's map.
The wildfire threatening Colorado Springs is firefighters’ top priority as the area of the fire doubled the evening of June 26 from 12 to 24 square miles. "It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine," Gov. John Hickenlooper said, reported CBS. "It's almost surreal. You look at that, and it's like nothing I've seen before."
The Denver Post reported that Colorado’s largest wildfire was the 2002 Hayman Fire that burned more than 137,000 acres and cost $39 million. The ongoing High Park Fire in Larimer County is the state’s second biggest fire — it has already burned 87,250 acres and cost $29.6 million. As of the morning on Wednesday, June 27, the High Park Fire was 65 percent contained.
A Twitter feed from the Colorado Division of Emergency Management shows the ongoing updates and public outreach regarding the fires.
Photo: Nebraska National Guard crew members dump water from a Bambi bucket onto flames of the High Park Fire in Larimer County, Colo. Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Tate Petersen, Company C, 2nd-135th General Support Aviation Support