Canada — Almost everyone who has lived in the Okangan for a few years has been affected by a forest fire in one way or another. Hundreds of families in the Kelowna area lost their homes during the Okanagan Mountain Park fire of 2003.
Last year’s fires caused massive evacuations. Other people opened their doors to fire refugees or volunteered in other ways. Now people can share their personal experiences on a brand-new social media website that documents every forest fire in the Okanagan Valley over the last 25 years.
The 2009 fire season was barely over when some students at UBC-Okanagan got the idea of developing a website that combines map-making and social media. Student Aidan Whiteley helped develop the program. He says, “I think that anyone who has been impacted by forest fires in the Okanagan is going to be interested.”
People who go to the site will be able to get historical information on every forest fire that’s taken place in the region since 1984. Registered users can also upload their own fire videos, photographs and stories.