Home Emergency Management News Alberta Government Releases Fort McMurray Wildfire App

Alberta Government Releases Fort McMurray Wildfire App

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Online mapping gives high-level satellite images of current conditions

The Fort McMurray wildfires have been devastating residents of the region burning in Alberta, Canada. With the fires yet to be stopped, the Alberta government recently released a wildfire damage surveillance app that gives residents the opportunity to see a bird's eye view of current conditions.

The wildfire damage surveillance app is an online mapping application that provides a high-level satellite overview of the status of the city. Users are able to view real-time snapshots of damage, but the government did warn that the images "should not be used for official damage assessments."

The government plans to release higher-resolution images soon that will provide greater detail, and should be more useful for property owners looking to file insurance claims and other recovery actions.

More than 90,000 people have been evacuated due to the Fort McMurray wildfires, and, as of yet, there is no word on when it might be safe for residents to return home. According to the official Alberta government website, residents "should not expect to return home for an extended period of time."

"Having been through a devastating fire and evacuation myself, I know firsthand how stressful it is to wait for updates on which homes have been lost. We are committed to providing information to residents as soon as we can, and these images will help us begin to answer the questions people have about the state of their homes and community." -- Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Technology and disasters

The Fort McMurray wildfire app is the latest example of the use of technology in disaster situations around the globe. Developers and scientists continue to develop technology that can be useful in disaster and emergency situations. Just last month, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a flooding app that aimed to help Texas residents deal with recent floods by providing real-time forecasts and alerts about water levels, among other things.

Emergency updates

Along with the new app, the Alberta government also maintains a webpage devoted to publishing the latest information on the Fort McMurray wildfires. This page includes evacuation details, specifics regarding financial assistance and other information related to the fires.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.