A firetracking software platform with the ability to notify residents of fires near important locations: home, work, etc., which uses Near RealTime Fire Data and crowdsourced user data from local residents and 1st responders to give an accurate real time look at wildfire firelines.

This project is solving the Forest Monitor Mapping challenge.


30 Sec Explainer Video

The video doesn't appear to be embedding in this page correctly, so here is a direct link to it on YouTube: Link to 30 Sec Explainer Video on YouTube

Background on the Project

The true costs of wildfire are shown to be far greater than the costs usually reported to the public; total expenses range from 2 to 30 times reported suppression costs. - Western Forestry Leadership Coalition

I've lived in areas that were in danger from wildfires for a couple of decades. The lack of information on where a fire is located, how quickly it is moving, and whether or not we may be in the "line of fire" is always disturbing, frustrating, and dangerous.

= 740,000 = Number of Homes at High or Very High Risk From Wildfire

There is currently no reliable way to find out where a wildfire is located. Residents end up resorting to driving the streets to see how close the fire has encroached on their homes. They stay glued to local news, hoping to hear an update that is relevant to their location, and they call local police and fire authorities looking for updates, thereby cluttering emergency services that are already being overloaded. The worst time is during the evening when news is typically off the air, and it is more difficult to see the state of smoke in the vicinity. Having a clear picture of what an actual fireline perimeter looks like would allow for better decisions across the board.

For residents it would allow us to decide:

  1. if the fire is a significant danger
  2. if we're in a "pack and hold" situation
  3. or if it's time to evacuate

The Basic Idea

The most current data that is available on fires is frequently up to 24 hours old. WIth the EOSDIS system the closest we have to realtime fire data is 24 hour updates. By importing this data, and then crowdsourcing additional information from residents and 1st responders, we can create a fairly accurate approximation of the current fireline perimeter. Adding in data sources from other agencies will also augment the imaging, thereby assisting Fire Agencies with their firefighting strategies, residents, with their evacuation decisions, and media with their reporting. This will also have the benefit of removing a substantial strain from emergency services, since residents and media will have a resource available for timely updates that would not be dependent on constant interaction with fire and police agencies.

67,265 US Wildfires Reported in 2012#

The Nuts and Bolts

To show the essentials on the current project, the most recent EOSDIS fire data (24 hr updates) was downloaded as a KLM layer and imported into a live myGoogle calendar. A fire icon was used for the imaging on the map. From there, a tool was used to plot a set of geolocational points near an existing fire in Kansas and output as an additional KLM layer to approximate how data could be gathered from residents in the area from their cell phones. This information was linked using the directions tool in Google maps, thereby plotting it on the closest roads to the fires. A final KLM layer was plotted as a shape approximating what we would capture from firefighters with a self-updating geolocational tool, when they're on the actual fireline. A pic was also uploaded approximating a cell phone photo plotted on the map using its built-in geolocational data.

9,221,639 US Acres Destroyed by Wildfires in 2012

On the mobile app, we've roughed out an interface that would allow a user to upload a photo, mark it as to how intense the fire is, and estimate how far the fire was from their tagged geolocation. Some beginning code for that was done for my idea at a startup weekend: although we probably won't go about it the same way at this point. The initial code we worked on at that point can be found on bitbucket: Bitbucket Code Link

Project Information

License: MIT license (MIT)

Source Code/Project URL: http://www.wildfiretracker.com/


wildfiretracker.com - http://wildfiretracker.com/
YouTube VIdeo 30 Sec - https://youtu.be/_Dodsj_2Pyg
EOSDIS source - https://earthdata.nasa.gov/data/near-real-time-data/firms/active-fire-data
Geolocational Positioning - http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/html5-apps-positioning-with-geolocation--mobile-456
Full Cost of WIldfires - https://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications/fedgazette/counting-the-full-cost-of-wildfires
True Cost of WIldfire in Western US - http://www.wflccenter.org/news_pdf/324_pdf.pdf
Startup Weekend iOS Prototype Code - https://bitbucket.org/MikeMayer/wildfire-tracker/src
Twitter - http://twitter.com/wildfiretracker.com
Highest Risk States for Damage to homes from Wildfire - http://media.propertycasualty360.com/propertycasualty360/article/2012/09/11/Wildfire%20Infographic%20SF.jpg
CalFire Scraper Github - https://github.com/SCPR/firetracker/blob/master/calfire_tracker/management/commands/scraper_wildfires.py


  • Cynthia Kirkeby