With fire season already well under way across the entire southern tier of the US, here are a few new tools you may find useful.
For both a big picture and local details, check out the near-real time data in what the European Space Agency says is "the first multi-year global fire atlas ever developed." The World Fire Atlas has just a six-hour delay in transmitting satellite imagery to its zoomable world map. You can narrow your focus to your local audience's area of interest, or you can provide perspective on fires raging all over the world, such as those incinerating much of South America and Africa: release and Atlas. The best starting point for reporting purposes may be "Web Map Server" in upper right corner; registration is free and easy.
Another up-to-date and zoomable tool is the Geomac (Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination) introduced last year by the US Geological Survey.
One of the states with the most extreme fire conditions at the moment is New Mexico. In response, the state has set up a new information repository.
Other states that have had similar tools for a few years include Arizona and Utah. The California Fire Alliance may also be a useful resource. If you're in another state, check with your state forester, a state contact for the local Forest Service or BLM, or county government to see if a similar composite information source is available.
The best nationwide source for information on all things fire-related is still the National Interagency Fire Center. NIFC says the states in the most vulnerable straits at the moment are AZ, CA, CO, FL, NM, NV, TX, UT, and WY. The regularly-updated national drought monitor provides another good perspective on bone-dry areas.
OTHER SOURCES INCLUDE: