Wildfire: Website lets Fort McMurray residents see the state of their home

wildfire website lets fort mcmurray residents see the state of their home satellite
With the Fort McMurray fire zone in Alberta still not safe to enter, many residents who fled to evacuation centers are wondering what’s become of their home.

In a move that for evacuees could turn out to be as harrowing as it is helpful, local government officials have launched a website showing recent satellite imagery of the city so worried residents can check on the condition of their property.

More than 80,000 people were forced to evacuate Fort McMurray when a huge wildfire swept through the community earlier this month. Estimates suggest around 20 percent, or roughly 1,600 properties, were destroyed in the disaster, the cause of which is still under investigation.

Addressing the evacuees directly, Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee said in a release that officials were committed to providing information “as soon as we can,” adding that the imagery would “help us begin to answer the questions you have about the state of your homes and community.”

At first glance, the website’s imagery resembles that of Google Earth, though look more closely and the sight of smoke hanging in the air offers the first clue that all is not well on the ground. Zoom in and you’ll soon see clusters of homes ravaged by the wildfire.

Larivee said the imagery is intended to provide “a high-level satellite overview of the status of the city,” but noted that houses that appear to be intact “should not be considered undamaged.”

In a somewhat chilling note that emphasizes the true scale of the disaster and the impact on those involved, Larivee said, “Viewing these images may be traumatic,” in the next sentence offering the number of a 24/7 mental health help line.

The minister promised higher-resolution imagery “in the days ahead,” suggesting it could show enough detail to assist property owners with insurance claims, recovery-eligibility funding, and other recovery actions. The content can be viewed by hitting the link at the foot of this page.

One Fort McMurray resident who won’t be needing the satellite imagery is James O’Reilly. After fleeing the city, he accessed his home security camera’s live feed, watching in horror as the flames destroyed his property.


Breaking: Amazon won’t build headquarters in New York in face of opposition

Amazon has canceled plans for a New York City headquarters afer citizens, civic groups, and politicians pushed back on Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's exclamation of economic joy over Amazon's earlier…
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.