Hacking California Wildfires: Pipes/CHP/Twitter

Picture 5A wildfire popped up here in San Diego yesterday about 2 miles east of my house. It was more than a little unnerving, as the picture here from someone closer to the fires shows (courtesy of NBC San Diego.)

I don’t like not knowing about stuff like this as it’s happening, so my response was to build a Yahoo Pipes mashup extracting fire spottings from live California Highway Patrol incident reports for San Diego. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the CHP knows about everything in California first, from carjackings to wildland fires.) I then took that extracted fire data and sent it, via TwitterFeed, to a new Twitter ID I created, which in turn I authorized to be sent directly to my mobile phone as SMS bulletins. The result? Live wildfire reports to my iPhone.

Relatedly, check the following map of all the currently active wildfire complexes in California. To have more than 800 hotspots out there is remarkable stuff, especially given that it’s only the beginning of summer. (Click for a live zoomable version.)

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