It unfortunately seems to be a regular occurrence in Australia: devastating bushfires each and every summer. It was only two years ago we saw the devastation across much of the eastern seaboard of Australia. There are many tools to help keep us and our loved ones safe during trying situations such as these but there can never be enough.

Google has launched a new layer to Google Maps to help Australians “stay informed, plan travel and in some cases, make critical and life-saving decisions.” The new layer aims to provide you with up-to-date details about multiple fires at once.

As with all layers on Google Maps you turn on the layer by tapping on the Layers symbol in Maps and then on the Bushfires icon so see important details about multiple fires. You can zoom into areas of interest on the map and tapping on the fire to give you the latest updates, location, level of severity and recommended actions. It will also provide a link to local authorities to give you added details.

The information is surfaced by Google from state fire agencies and “relevant and authoritative content from the web, social media, and Google products” with an aim to provide solutions from those on the ground in the area and provide for the needs of the communities.

Hopefully no one here will need this layer this year but given our climate and its ever-changing nature it is likely to be required somewhere in Australia over the summer. If you are in need and want a quick update for areas you are going, living or know about then Google Maps Bushfire Layer is just one of several resources you should be accessing to get all the relevant information you need to make safe and sensible decisions this Summer.