“The west, the west, the west is on fire. We don’t have no water, so our precious forests burn. “

Whether we like them or not, fires are a natural phenomenon, vital to the health of the forests and even our grasslands. Over the last ten to twenty thousand years, forest fires have consumed nearly every inch of America, helping transform the lands into what we know and love today. While that is all good in the woods, forest fires today are becoming behemoths, quickly burning hillsides, cities, and even the rainforest. With the climate changing, it seems like we are seeing more fires than ever before. Right now, there are over 120 fires burning in the western states alone, many of which probably won’t go out until substantial rain or snow finally falls. The numbers are staggering: 30 fires raging in Washington State, another 30+ in Idaho, nearly 15 in Oregon, 20 in California and over 25 in Montana…and we are only halfway through August. 

Historically, seeing real time fire information, including pictures and video of these sometimes catastrophic blazes was next to impossible. Agencies had to rely on antiquated ways to communicate information, and the general public was left in the dark unless a fire was directly impacting their region. Now, thanks to mapping technologies and the work of the good people at, a geographic information system has been created so we all can see and monitor fires around the west and America.

See this in list form:

This map is an awesome use of technology, and I recommend anyone interested in fires take some time to explore the functionality. While there still aren’t as many pictures, videos and links to individual fire information as I would like, this map is a great resource to see where fires are burning and how it might impact your travels to some of the most beautiful lands in America. Someday, we will be able to see realtime info as it comes in, but for now, this map is a pretty cool use of technology, and gets me excited to see how else this map can be used.

What do you think about it?