Here’s what I’m looking at to get updates on where, exactly, wildfires are currently burning in Texas and how big they are.
The information for this map comes from the Texas Forest Service and uses Google Maps, so you can zoom in on your area. Wunderground offers a similar map, with estimated smoke plumes based on wind direction.
For road conditions, the Texas Department of Transportation offers a “Highway Condition Reporting System” map, which shows closures and other problems on the state’s highways. Google maps also has a traffic feature that shows conditions and closures.
Other suggestions? Fire away. The Texas Extension Disaster Education Network offers more links, including a Google Earth feature that lets you download an up-to-date KML map file. Very nice.
Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the latest population figures for Texas, and the numbers showed Bexar County had gained nearly 332,000 people in the past decade.
But where are all these newcomers moving to within Bexar County?
Kelly Guckian, database manager for the San Antonio Express-News, pulled together more detailed population figures from the 2010 Census to help show where Bexar County is gaining residents — and where it’s losing them.
Kelly focused on census tracts, which are geographic boundaries set by the Census Bureau that encompass, on average, about 4,000 people. This allowed her to zoom in on population changes at the neighborhood level. She did the tedious work of compiling and mapping the data, and I helped export it into this interactive Google map that shows how the far West and North sides of the county saw explosive gains in the blue areas, while many inner city neighborhoods in the yellow areas lost residents. Kelly and graphic artist Mark Blackwell also produced maps showing the population trends broken down by race and ethnicity, and MySA’s Mike Howell put it all together in an interesting package online.
The explosive growth on the county’s outskirts occurred during a decade when city officials emphasized the importance of living near downtown and limiting urban sprawl. Our news story about the Census numbers explored why many people either didn’t hear the city’s message — or ignored it.