Tracking Wildfires

Last updated 10/28/2020 10:40am PDT
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I’m gathering links and information here that can help you track a wildfire anywhere in California or the US.
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Active Wildfires

I’ll add information for active wildfires here, but definitely use the other resources I’ve included lower on this page to do your own more extensive research!

*WATCH*
Video showing some of the tools on this page

For a good introduction on how to use some of the links included on this page, check out this Facebook video from Jeff Aiello which he made on 9/28 to help track the Glass Fire.

Emergency Alerts

To receive emergency alerts for your area, text your zip code to 888777, or go to www.nixle.com

Official Inciweb & CALFire Information

There are two sites that should list most of the active wildfires on the west coast:

A) Go to inciweb.nwcg.gov to see a map and list of most active wildfires. Click on an incident to go to the official page and see information like the size of the fire, percentage containment, official contact phone numbers and a whole lot more. The larger the fire, the more information you’re likely to find on this site.

B) Some fires may not be listed on Inciweb, in which case you can check CalFire’s Incident Map (the Glass Fire and Zogg Fire are listed here).

Maps

The map links below are centered over California, but you can move around and zoom in on any region or wildfire in the US. Note: None of these maps provide real-time data. Refer to timestamps on each map to see the age of the map or specific hotspot.

Webcams

  • Alert Wildfire Cameras
    • Go to www.alertwildfire.org. Select a region by clicking on the black dot and then link. One of the region’s cameras will be shown by default, but check out all the available cameras on the map to the right, or the screenshots below the image. You can view a live image or a time-lapse animation. Note: When active wildfires are in the area of a camera, operators may shift the camera to focus directly on the fire.
  • Caltrans CCTV Map
    • Go to cwwp2.dot.ca.gov/vm/iframemap.htm and check to see if there are any cameras near the fire area. Click on the camera icon to see a live shot. Note: Video playback currently works only for laptop and desktop computers, not mobile devices.

Smoke & Air Quality

  • AirNow Fire Map: This hybrid air quality map shows both official EPA sensors (more accurate) and low-cost and temporary sensors (more localized and more current) to give better to the minute information in fire areas where air quality can change rapidly due to smoke.
  • AirNow Air Quality Map: Shows only the official EPA sensors, but can be used if the hybrid map above (still a pilot program) is not working.
  • Wildland Fire Smoke Outlook: Click on any of the blue squares on the map to see the smoke outlook for that area for the next few days.
  • GOES WEST- Pacific Coast Viewer: See a time-lapse satellite view of smoke conditions for the west coast
  • California Smoke Information: A compilation of resources from public agencies for communities affected by wildfire smoke.

Weather

Go to the National Weather Service’s www.weather.gov and type in your zip code to get specific weather information and links to fire-specific resources if available.

Finding More Info for a Specific Fire

  • Social Media
    • If you have accounts for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, log in and then search for the hashtag associated with the fire you’re tracking. For example, search for #GlassFire or #SQFComplexFire
    • Search for these official Facebook or Twitter accounts for your region:
      • Local/County Fire Department or CalFire
      • Local/County Sheriffs Office (should have information on evacuations and repopulation)
      • If the fire is in a National Forest area, search for the specific account for that forest, for example Sequoia National Forest or Sierra National Forest
      • Search for local news outlets’ accounts, like TV news, online news sites, newspapers, and the social media accounts of individual reporters.
    • Search for and join Facebook groups in the town/region of the fire. This can be a good place to see photos, videos, and share information, but remember to be cautious of any unverified information found here, as you would with any social media site.
  • Webcams
    • Search for additional webcams that might show fire or smoke conditions by doing a search for “webcam [town or city name]” (for example, you could search “webcam Calistoga” for the Glass Fire)

Preparation & Evacuation Information