University of California
Fire in California

Real-time Fire Map

Fires are a natural part of California ecosystems. Historic fires occur at frequent intervals, but with lower intensity. The high severity and acreage fires commonly seen today are driven by more extreme weather and build-up of fuel from our ongoing fire suppression activities.

Use this map to keep track of current fire activity and whether you are at risk. Disclaimer: The map information is updated up to twice daily. Please refer to local resources for more frequent updates.

CalFire Real-time Fire Map

Active Fire Data

There are two major types of current fire information: fire perimeter and hot spot data:

  • Fire perimeter data are generally collected by a combination of aerial sensors and on-the-ground information. These data are used to make highly accurate perimeter maps for firefighters and other emergency personnel, but are generally updated only once every 12 hours.
  • "Hot spot" data uses satellite detection to identify areas of high temperature. VIIRS and MODIS thermal activity data is not as accurate as fire perimeter data (it is collected on a 1km scale), but it is updated twice daily.

In addition to fire, it is important to stay informed about wind conditions and air quality:

  • Wind patterns can help you understand the potential for growth and direction that a fire may move. Windy.com has an easy to read map of wind direction and strength to help keep track of wind patterns.
  • Air Quality can impact health, especially with children. AirNow has information on current air quality conditions, including smoke plume maps.

While these maps are quick and convenient, it is also important to watch for more timely and detailed information from your local state and county office. Information for state responsibility incidents (usually over a certain size) will be posted on the Statewide Fire Information website. Federally responsible incident information are available on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Inciweb site.

Apps and Social Media

For the best source of up to date information about evacuations and road closures, seek out your local county and city government resources. These sites will often have other information, including PDF maps, evacuation information, and road closures.

Smartphone apps also provide good resources about real time conditions. Disclaimer: This following is not an exhaustive list nor does it constitute an endorsement.

  • Breezometer (Android) (ios), Provides air quality information.
  • Twitter (Android) (ios), Note that unless it comes directly from a government agency's site, the information may not be entirely accurate. Search for accounts from your local media outlets, fire agencies, and government agencies.

We hope this information can be of use, and that everyone stays safe during this terrifying and tragic time. Thank you to those who are fighting these fires and providing these resources so we can know what is going on.

References

  1. Both MODIS and fire perimeter data can be found on the GEOMAC Wildland Fire Support Tool (click the “Data Layers” tab and check the box for MODIS Fire Detection).
  2. GEOMAC also includes two other satellite data sources, VIIRS and HMS. More information on these can be found here and here.
Webmaster Email: rpsatomi@ucanr.edu