With wildfires being more prevalent than ever in some parts of the world, it makes sense to improve the quality of information for those in the area. To better crisis response, Google will now show the boundaries of active wildfires via satellite data in near real-time.
Google is using data from the GOES constellation of satellites from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with its own Earth Engine to update the boundaries of a wildfire roughly every hour.
The end result is displayed on Google Search and Google Maps. Search, when keywords like "wildfire in California" or "Kincade fire" are entered, will show relevant news stories, a visual of the affected areas, and hotlines for help or information from local emergency agencies. Meanwhile, Maps will have the same data, but it will also provide ambient alerts to people exploring or approaching areas near the wildfires.
These SOS alerts launch today and should already be visible on Search and Maps. Given how destructive these wildfires can be, we're glad that Google is investing time and effort into this initiative.