Four Mile Canyon Fire 2010 #boulderfire

via BoulderOSteens

Fire broke out yesterday just a few miles from Boulder.

Just incredible. This is going to burn a lot of land.

Quite a lot of information is available. The emergency scanner is here.

Weather Underground has a fire map as well here.

If you are not near the fire and want to grasp just the scale, this photo by James Azure is stunning.

CNN has the best video shot from a plane.

Two user generated google map mashups have been amazing uses of data from the scanner.


full map here.  Another map here.

I had a live stream last night that had 17,000 viewers watch the smoke plume.  The first map has 70,000 views.  People are looking for quality up to date information, and taking part.

Red flag warnings just went out, basically saying this could be very, very bad.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has the most up to date official news.  (well that is if their site didn’t error out about every other time).

7:41 a.m. – Sept. 7, 2010 – Boulder County officials will be on hand to update the public and media on the status of the Fourmile Canyon Fire at a briefing scheduled for 9 a.m. Mountain time Tuesday at the Boulder County Justice Center located at Sixth Street and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder. So far, no injuries as a result of the fire have been reported.

Not much else on the mind but #boulderfire

I watched the fire in my back yard yesterday with the plume towering overhead.

My backyard right now #boulderfire

Check out the #boulderfire tag on twitter, as people are using it for some of the most up to date information.

Sandra Fish has been tweeting scanner activity, and has had the best information.

Fire Miles

Fire as seen from space.





13 responses to “Four Mile Canyon Fire 2010 #boulderfire”

  1. Ben Jeavons Avatar

    I see two positive results of social media around this fire. 1) The maps and photos tell people *where* the fire is and 2) when the reverse 911 call is not adequate social media like Twitter informs people *when* evacuate. Are there others?

    I raise this question because otherwise it seems like a lot of people were just talking about the fire and looking at photos/video. “OMG #boulderfire OHNOES heres some pizs. hope my peeps @soandso @another @boulderperson are OK!” It's like reality TV, the fire was an entertainment source. Except for the people that were helping or needed the information, the majority of people were spectating and added no real value.

    I think one could argue that the retweets and amount of chatter about the #boulderfire helped those that needed the information get it but is there any hard data about that? Do we know that X amount of people found out that they needed to evacuate because of Twitter?

  2. andrewhyde Avatar

    I would guess 0 people evacuated based on twitter, but trolling bloggers

    looking for pageviews sure made it sound like that was the way to use it.

  3. Antof9 Avatar

    There are a surprising amount of people who don't watch news these days, or seek it out unless it's in their faces. In addition, this happened on a holiday. I know a lot of people in Denver didn't know about it until they saw the news on Twitter. I also know a lot of Denver friends posting about it on Facebook, asking what was going on, and I told them what I'd learned from Twitter, plus gave them the link to the hashtag. So I'd say for just “news” alone, Twitter was sort of valuable.

  4. Matt Beaty Avatar

    I'm guessing @andrewhyde is right – nobody learned of evac commands via twitter. I'm also guessing that friends/family of people in the area used twitter and the related media to learn about the fire. It's possible that these friends/family contacted those in the evac or burn areas to let them know to get out. The police, forest and firefighting personnel did the evacs door to door, and they did a damn good job!

  5. Deborah Lee Soltesz Avatar

    Having had front row seats for the Schultz Fire near Flagstaff, Arizona over the summer and the resulting aftermath when the monsoons hit a month later causing flash flooding, I have to say social media was invaluable. The local news and emergency response folks simply did not provide updates often enough. The news was spotty and hours late, and the fire incident response team generally only provided updates once each morning. Flood news was even worse – the fire incident folks were long gone, leaving us to depend on the County to provide info. The County folks were so frightened of being sued, they *refused* to provide advice, refused to provide any kind of information regarding where the flooding might spread (and it went much farther than original predictions), and pretty much restricted themselves to stating facts. It was up to us folks who know a little about mapping to figure out which homes in our area were at risk and come up with the best solution to protect those homes.

    Social media gave us information on where the fire was going and where the flooding was happening – useful for making our own plans. More importantly, we got news about how to get help (e.g., where to take pets, where to get free meals, where to find shelter, which hotels still had vacancies), where to get flood mitigation resources, and where to lend a hand. People affected by the fire were able to find emotional support online, and get help for specific issues they were experiencing. Without social media, we would have had far less information. When you watch your mountain burn down then later wash away, information doesn't stop it from happening, but it certainly helps with the stress… having no idea what's going on when the world seems to falling apart around you just compounds the emotional distress.

  6. vanillagrrl Avatar

    twitter was good for following scanner updates — news media don't usually feed info the way @fishnette/@sandrafish was doing, and it was great for offers of lodgings, help boarding pets that couldn't be taken to shelters, etc. This am I'm seeing offers of meals, hotel discounts, etc., plus real-time info about how the schools are responding to the air quality (like: “ABC School is letting kids in the main entrance upon arrival this morning and not asking them to line up outside classrooms.”).

  7. Kath1213 Avatar

    Spending the holiday in CA where there's been no coverage of the fire – was glued to Twitter all night for updates.

    Thanks Andrew!!

  8. ThankYouTwitter Avatar

    I was supposed to travel to Boulder this week, and I've got allergy problems, and so I sent out tweet asking people about the air quality there using the boulderfire hashtag. People sent me tweets about how the air quality is affecting them personally.I can't get such “realtime” stories from the news or even the “health advisory websites.” Excellent use of social media!

  9. Andrew Crookston Avatar

    Twitter was great for finding resources like the Google Maps mashups and keeping track of what was on the scanners. Is excellent for me sitting in Sweden but also for my GF in Boulder trying to find out more – and lending a hand to help.

  10. Todd Bradley Avatar
    Todd Bradley

    I imagine that those people who were in the evacuation zone but “don't watch news these days” were probably alerted by one other old technology solution: cops driving up and down the roads, going door-to-door, shouting through bullhorns, and so on.

    Nobody needs twitter when you see smoke billowing over the ridge and the fire marshal is in your face shouting, “You are in a mandatory evacuation area!”

  11. M Wurtz Avatar
    M Wurtz

    Of course I am terribly sad for all of those who have lost their homes or are still in danger but I can't help but be really worried about the fate of the Gold Hill Inn. It is an historic gem and a place dear to my heart and many wonderful memories. Does anyone know its fate?

  12. andrewhyde Avatar

    I have heard that downtown was saved, but would look at the camera for an official word.

  13. Tiff Avatar

    I love your pictures! They are the only ones I have seen that justify what I saw when I forgot my camera! Especially the night shots. It was incredible, but yet sad. Anyway, great shots!

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