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Online Briefings Help People Follow Wildfire Strategy

Screenshot from Forest Service Facebook briefing

As fire crews battle dozens of wildfires around the Northwest, the public can now follow their progress from the their living rooms. 

You can read online or emailed dispatches from individual fires. Or you can tune in and get an online live briefing.Social media are changing how the public interacts with wildfire management.

“Good morning, Dennis Burns, fire behavior analyst for California Interagency Incident Management Team 2, with your Cedar Creek, Delancy, Cub Creek and Muckamuck Fire updates for August 16. So, coming over here to the map," he said as he turned to a map.

This is the type of briefing firefighters on the ground receive every morning before they go out to the fire lines. And now it’s available to you by going to the individual pages fire information officers set up on social media such as Facebook. There they post maps where the fires are burning, information about active evacuations and the daily roundups.

Some of it is insider-ish, intelligible if you understand the jargon of incident commanders. But here and there are nuggets that can give you good insight into the latest information about a fire.

“The big story is the Muckamuck Fire made a significant push yesterday afternoon into the evening. It did jump the 38 Road. We requested some assistance from the local fire districts and state DNR. They came in, were a big help," he said.

For people who live near these fires, these pages are important sources of information and a place for members of the public to thank firefighters for their work.

The fire teams also use social media pages to publicize and share Zoom links to community meetings where they share fire information and answer questions.