But wouldn’t some forewarning be nice?
With fires now blazing year round out West, it may be time for some Americans to start checking fires as often as they do local weather reports — which is now possible, thanks to a slew of online resources that predict and visualize their proliferation.
For Daily Reports
The government website InciWeb recently rolled out a feature that maps the precise boundaries of every fire. The site is updated each morning, and also shows which agency is responsible for watching the fire and a list of evacuation advisories.
For Backcountry Excursions
If you’re headed into the backcountry, download OnX, an offroad essential that allows you to track where you’ve been and where you’re going with GPS navigation, and also saves map portions for when you go truly off-grid. OnX recently began feeding InciWeb’s into its own map layer (also updated daily), so you can track a fire’s movements and ensure you don’t end up trapped on the trail.
For Smoke Signals
Smoke coverage is a different issue altogether, and a data refinery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has you covered. Their web tool is currently in beta, but you can follow @WildfireSignal on Twitter to keep up with their satellite imagery updates on fires and smoke coverage updated throughout the day.
Stay safe, and keep doing whatever you’re doing out in the boondocks.