View Live Forest Fires in the United States

Large forest fires burn in the West of the United States every year. The Forest Service updates maps of current fires many times a day. We demonstrate a map that automatically updates based on updates to the underlying data.


Forest Fire Monitoring

Forest fires cause enormous damage every year throughout the Western United States and Canada. Multiple towns are often destroyed along with many homes and large areas of forest. Millions of people are affected by smoke: whole towns are often evacuated soley due to smoke, and people in much larger areas often must reduce their activity outside due to smoke.

The National Interagency Fire Center maintains the NIFC Open Data Site as a "Federal interagency wildland fire maps and data for all". This site offers a link to "WFIGS - 2022 Wildland Fire Perimeters to Date", which is a continuously updated dataset and map of current fire perimeters. One may download the current data in shapefile, GeoJSON and other formats.

Our map shows how this data may be used to create a map that continuously updates and that can then be embedded in other sites, such as a county information site concerning fires. We built a tool that checks the site for a new download every ten minutes and reconciles any updates with records that we keep in a PostgreSQL database. We don't (yet?) offer tools to help track a database for updates. For many applications, though, it is an organization that updates its own data and so there is no need to track or reconcile anything.

Once the data is in the PostgreSQL database, we can easily make a map using our DB2Vector tool. We want the query to show only recently updated polygons, and so we use the SQL condition

poly_datecurrent > NOW() - INTERVAL '14 DAY'

to limit the selection to data that is from the last fourteen days. This would suffice to display the polygons.

We'd like the viewer, though, to be able to read the name of the fire, the amount of acres that it has consumed, the cause and other relevant information. These are all among the many fields included in the dataset. Each, however, needs it's name reformatted, and some need to be rounded. We also make these changes in the SQL, as shown below. We then click "Publish" to create the tile layer.

WITH boundingbox AS(
  SELECT
    ST_MakeEnvelope(
      %(xmin)s,
      %(ymin)s,
      %(xmax)s,
      %(ymax)s,
      3857
    ) AS geom
),
mvtgeom AS (
  SELECT
    irwin_incidentname AS "Name",
    TO_CHAR(poly_acres_autocalc, 'fm999G999G999D99') AS "Acres",
    poly_datecurrent AS "Updated",
    irwin_firecause AS "Cause",
    irwin_firecode AS "Fire Code",
    irwin_percentcontained AS "Percent Contained",
    irwin_percentpertobecontained AS "Percent To Be Contained",
    ST_AsMVTGeom(
      ST_Transform(sourceTable.geometry, 3857),
      boundingbox.geom
    )
  FROM
    wfigs.perimeter sourceTable,
    boundingbox
  WHERE
    ST_Intersects(
      ST_Transform(boundingbox.geom, 4326),
      sourceTable.geometry
    )
    AND poly_datecurrent > NOW() - INTERVAL '14 DAY'
)
SELECT
  ST_AsMVT(mvtgeom.*)
FROM
  mvtgeom;

We then style the layer in Simple Styler as below:

And then we create a map using Map Stacker. Here we only select one layer to include and select the option "Hover" so that the data fields are displayed when the mouse hovers over them. Publishing this map creates the URL for the map above that can be embedded on any website.

The tools make it very easy to make a webmap that updates automatically, can be easily edited and can be embedded anywhere.

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