It struck me last night and this morning as my future brother-in-law and I were staging a makeshift disaster reporting center in my living room, how incredibly helpful the internet and new technology can be in an emergency situation. We’ve clearly become obsessed with tracking the fire’s progress towards our houses in coastal San Diego but news reporting is spotty at best for us in LA and almost the same in San Diego. TV crews are painfully slow to mobilize, set up, and diseminate information in comparision to word of mouth style blogs and forums. These allow neighbors in areas that are threatened/actually burning to instantly post not only which streets are on fire, but which SIDE of a street is in trouble. It’s really quite amazing!
A bunch of people have taken it upon themselves to create fire maps using Google maps.
KPBS is using twitter for quick updates on evacuations, shelters, and other county alerts.
And the Union Tribune (the SD paper) has been furiously updating their blog with detailed reports of the situation.
And then there is Topix.com, which appears to be a pretty cool and very useful source for user generated news. It’s shockingly more informative than local newspaper and station sites.
Even people in SD appear to be largely relying on sites like these to stay in the loop about their own neighborhoods. SO isn’t that cool?
Here is an aerial photo of all the fires in southern CA. No wonder the sunlight looks orange today!