Guest Dev: The Los Angeles Times California Wildfires Map by Casey Miller

September 24, 2020
September 24, 2020
Casey Miller
Data Journalist
Marena Brinkhurst
Community Team, Mapbox
Jack Meyers
Account Manager
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“A mid-August lightning siege set California on the path toward a historic and horrifyingly active fire season,” writes the Los Angeles Times, and the news about the fires isn’t only written – it’s mapped.

The Los Angeles Times’ California Wildfires Map is a near-realtime map of wildfires currently burning in California. The map, created and maintained by Los Angeles Times data journalist Casey Miller, contains five different types of data:

  1. Fire origins mark firefighters' best guess of where the fire started. The data is provided by CalFire and the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination.
  2. Fire perimeters are the latest known extent of where the fire has burned. This data is provided by GeoMAC.
  3. Hotspots are areas suspected to be on fire according to satellite imagery analysis. The data is provided by Descartes Labs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Descartes Labs data is sourced from NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite satellites. Additional data is provided by NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product, which is human reviewed and sourced from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite satellites.
  4. Mandatory evacuation zones and evacuation warning zones  are provided by local government agencies.
  5. Air pollution data is provided by AirNow.

Casey will share...

  • Design thinking that shaped the map design
  • Workflows behind near-realtime data updates
  • Nitty gritty of mapping public and private geospatial data


About Casey Miller
Casey Miller is a data journalist automating and analyzing data around disasters, both natural and human-made, that threaten the daily lives of Californians. In the past she has helped create visual and data-driven graphics and narratives at Mapbox, Vox Media and the Wall Street Journal. Miller is also a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow Casey on Twitter: @caseymmiller


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