Hundreds of wildfires are currently burning in California, prompting evacuations, plumes of ash and smoke, and the declaration of a statewide emergency from the governor. It’s a familiar pattern in the state, where wildfires now regularly burn with more force and frequency than they have in years past.
Esri, a spatial analytics firm based in California, has put together a animated map of California wildfires over the last century. Using data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the map shows how fires have progressed in severity over the decades, beginning in 1910 and continuing through last year. It includes statistics on the largest fires, the total number of fires in a given year, and the number of acres burned. Taken together, the statistics and visualization paint an alarming portrait of a state facing an increasingly urgent environmental crisis.
The map was created using Esri’s ArcGIS Pro platform, along with software tools including Cinema 4D, Redshift, and Adobe After Effects. The full video with credits is just over a minute and a half. You can watch the animation on YouTube or via the embedded video below: