The 6 Best Fire Maps of 2019

See the location and information about local wildfires

Image of a wildfire approaching houses

 MLGXYZ/Getty Images

If you live near an area that experiences a frequent number of wildfires, you need a good fire map app. Here are some of the best fire map apps you can install on your phone so you're alerted early on when there's a fire threat in your area. This can provide you the extra time you need to gather your belongings and evacuate as quickly as possible.

01
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See Local Fire Hazards: AFIS

Screenshots of the AFIS mobile app
What We Like
  • Easy to check local fire threats by long-pressing the map.

  • Easy navigation to see fire threats and fire history.

  • Detailed information about fire history in the area.

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to open in current location by default.

  • Interface is not intuitive.

  • Must choose a location to see wildfire threats.

AFIS is a useful app for monitoring the current threat of a wildfire starting in your area. The location feature doesn't work with all devices, so you may need to scroll around the map with your finger to your location. When you long-press on the map, you'll see a pin revealing a score for the overall fire danger threat.

The Fire Danger navigation tab shows the fire threat forecast for the week, while the History tab shows details about past wildfires in this area.

The app isn't good for seeing the location of current active wildfires in your area, but it's excellent for staying aware when the threat of a wildfire is high.

02
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Monitor Fire and Other Disasters: DisasterAlert

Screenshot of the Disasteralert app
What We Like
  • Very detailed disaster map.

  • Includes a variety of disaster types.

  • Includes realtime radar weather info.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't use phone's GPS location data.

  • Map can seem cluttered at times.

  • Alert icons remain on map for days following disaster.

DisasterAlert by PDC Global is one of the most well known websites for monitoring global disasters in realtime. The DisasterAlert mobile app is an extension of that effort and provides information that's as detailed and up to date as the website.

The app will provide you with early warnings about all disasters in your area, not only wildfires. These may include tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, extreme temperatures, and even biological hazards.

Because the app monitors all disasters, the app may seem a little too cluttered for users who are only looking for wildfire information.

03
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See Local Wildfires When They Start: Fireguard

Screenshot of the Fireguard app
What We Like
  • Detailed, satellite view maps.

  • Simple one-touch fire search.

  • Realtime data from NASA Fire Information system.

  • Reveals unreported fires early.

What We Don't Like
  • Interface is not intuitive.

  • Limited information about fires.

  • App has very few features.

Fireguard is an impressive app that pulls data from NASA's Fire Information for Resource management System (FIRMS). This data includes fires detected from the use of satellite infrared imaging technology.

On the positive side, this means you'll see alerts from the app long before anyone else may receive reports of the fire - including emergency personnel. On the down side, there's little information available in the app about each hotspot.

04
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Monitor Fires, Weather, and Avalanches: FWAC

Screenshot of the FWAC app
What We Like
  • Contains more fire icons than other apps.

  • Includes weather and avalanche information.

  • Realtime snowstorm updates.

What We Don't Like
  • Contains icons for fires that occurred weeks earlier.

  • Very little fire information available.

  • Map is slow to load and laggy.

  • Only available for Android phones.

FWAC stands for Fire, Weather, and Avalanche Center. This organization focuses on monitoring information that are especially important to backcountry enthusiasts in the Western U.S.

The app is easy to use and lets you see maps with layers for wildfires, mountain snow forecasts, avalanches, and dangerous weather.

The map icons remain on the map for weeks at a time, so make sure to tap the icons in the area you plan to travel, to make sure the threat status is still active in that area.

05
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See Active Fires In Your Area: Wildfire Info

Screenshot of Wildfire Info map
What We Like
  • Fast, responsive map showing wildfire locations.

  • See date of wildfire with one tap.

  • Multiple databases used for maps.

What We Don't Like
  • Opens browser to view detailed fire information.

  • Interface is not intuitive.

  • No way to overlay all databases on one map.

The Wildfire Info app lets you view a satellite map with icons representing the locations of fires reported to various wildfire government organizations.

From the menu, you can select the organization to see all recently reported fires.

The map loads and responds quickly to finger gestures. Tap the icon to see when the fire occurred, and tap again to visit the government website page with more information about that fire.

06
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Monitor California Wild Fires: Cal Fire Ready for Wildfire App

Screenshot of the Cal Fire website for the Ready For Wildfire App.
What We Like
  • Specific to California.

  • Includes Ready, Set, Go! preparation guide.

  • Can create customized notices.

What We Don't Like
  • App can be buggy.

  • Not updated as frequently as it should be.

  • Alerts are hit and miss.

Sponsored by the State of California, the Ready for Wildfire Mobile App is available for both Android and iOS devices. This app is designed to be a first-alert-type app that notifies users of nearby wildfires and provides them with evacuation tips and routes. However, there seems to be some difficulty getting notifications in a timely manner, and many users report the app isn't updated frequently enough.