A Resource for the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US)


Wildfire Management Uses PAD-US

Fighting wildfires requires access to lots of geospatial information, which is used to plan and direct on the ground responses, determine responsibility areas (federal vs. state, etc.), track historical information for analysis, etc.  PAD-US data is a crucial part of this information system, providing the ownership boundaries of federal, state, regional and local parks and other protected areas to anyone working on fire response.

The following resources were particularly active during California’s recent devastating fires in the north San Francisco Bay area, where over 5,000 homes and many other structures were destroyed, and over 35 lives lost.

One key resource is the Department of the Interior Wildfire Coordinating Group’s GEOMAC application – hosted by USGS for the DoI Office Wildland Fire, which manages the Group. This layer viewer provides detailed information on current fire locations and perimeters along with PAD-US and other related data:

“In order to give fire managers near real-time information, fire perimeter data is updated daily based upon input from incident intelligence sources, GPS data, infrared (IR) imagery from fixed wing and satellite platforms. The GeoMAC web site allows users in remote locations to manipulate map information displays, zoom in and out to display fire information at various scales and detail, and print hard copy maps for use in fire information and media briefings, dispatch offices and coordination centers. The fire maps also have relational databases in which the user can display information on individual fires such as name of the fire, current acreage and other fire status information.”

GeoMac Image


In addition, the U.S. Department of the Interior has created its Landscape Decision Tool (DOILDT), which “provides access to a suite of online web map services such as feature layers, basemaps, and web applications” and is used extensively as a resource for wildfire incident response and analysis. The example below is from a California Wildfire Response application developed with DOILDT GIS tools, based at ArcGIS.com and incorporating a wide range of data layers:

DOILDT image