I found a source for maps of wildfire perimeters, does anyone know how I could convert any of this into KML files?

This is the NWCG website I found. The url doesn’t include the current filters applied, but if you disable everything and apply Fire History - Current Decade you can see some really nice maps of burned areas. When you click one you can see it’s borders clearly and a little bit of metadata, but that’s pretty much it.

Does anyone know a way to export/convert these borders into KML files? It would be helpful to this project some people are trying to setup if we could restrict observations to within these areas, and they are are too complex to create by hand.


It looks like the base layer for that data (which includes all years) can be found at https://data-nifc.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/nifc::interagency-fire-perimeter-history-all-years/explore?location=37.515486%2C-116.865792%2C3.87 . There’s a download button available there. Once you have it downloaded, you could use a GIS editing software such as QGIS/ArcGIS (or even R) to filter down to just those polygons covering the Oregon fires you’re interested in, and export as KML.


You might want to check with @boschniakia and @jaesparza11 how they set up the boundaries for the individual projects within https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-fire-followers-2021. Each project in the collection is based on the boundaries of one of the 2021 wildfires in California. It looks like they may have had help from @kueda to create the underlying places.


Thanks for the link harrier, I can’t really figure out how you got from one to the other but that does have a download as KML option, so awesome. But judging by the enormous size (and that the map opens to the continent) I’m guessing I downloaded the entire country/continent’s wildfire maps? Also it crashed google earth when I tried to open…

Any chance you see a way to download just one of these individual sections that I’m not noticing? Since I’ve never really used any kind of software like you mentioned.

Oh yeah, what they are doing with those maps are great, that would be handy to duplicate.

on the Intterra map, if you expand the Fire Details layer, you’ll see a button for Details:

if you click on the Details button, you’ll get this information:

the key thing that you care about here is the layer source:

if you use a tool like QGIS, you could open up the entire feature layer via Layer > Add Layer > Add ArcGIS Feature Service Layer… and using the above source as the URL for a new connection. from there, you have 2 options:

  • you could get the whole set into QGIS (which looks like everything for at least the US), and then just select the features you’re interested in within QGIS.
  • you could check the option to “only request features overlapping the current view extent” to get only the particular set of features that show up in your view of the map at the time you create the layer.

… from there, this may help you export the selected features: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/creating-a-place-for-your-us-city-using-census-bureau-geography-data/21927#find-and-select-your-city.

it’s possible to bypass something like QGIS altogether by querying directly from the ArcGIS Feature Service. the service doesn’t have the option to export directly to KML, but you can get a GeoJSON, which Google Earth i think should handle (or is easy to convert to KML using various tools).

NOTE: i thought everything i wrote below would work, but i don’t think the filtering on that page for the download works as expected:

using the OpenData site referenced by @harrier, it's also possible to filter. just zoom in on the map to the location you're interested in. the use the filter option, with "Filter as map moves" option turned on (and/or you could filter by specific fields, if you wanted to):

from there, click the Download link, and make sure you have the "Toggle Filters" option selected. then click the download button for the format you want.


Thanks so much for all that information, it’s a lot to take in and I’ll try my best to make it work!

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i was thinking about it, and here’s another way to query by the Feature ID (FID). Note that in your second screenshot in your original post, you highlighted a particular area, and in the details, the FID is shown as 35894. so you could query the ArcGIS feature service directly for that particular FID using this query (note the last 5 characters of the URL are the FID):

(if you open that up in your browser, you can right-click on the result to save the file. save it with a .json or .geojson extension.)

once you have your GeoJSON file, you can convert it to KML with something like QGIS or your choice of online conversion tool or any other tool you prefer. (here’s an online tool that you can paste GeoJSON text into to visualize, and then you can save the file in a number of formats, including KML: https://geojson.io/ .)

if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

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Hello! Figured I could jump in and help out. Thanks to @harrier for posting that ArcGIS Online link since it leads to an editable version of the fire data, which I used to make this KML file of fire perimeters in Oregon of fire events from 2012 to 2020: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1a7lP7e6jpdCc5LkICiYY31Pc7HI4MVKI/view?usp=sharing

The dataset I used only had data up to 2020, so hopefully that’s fine. I exported the data from the link that harrier posted to a personal shapefile, put that dataset into ArcGIS Pro, clipped the data so it only showed fires occurring in Oregon (boundaries from a US Census Bureau shapefile of the states), then extracted polygons that were attributed from >=2012 or <=2022, then converted those polygons to the KML.

Hope all that helps!


Thank you Jose, that was very kind of you. I’m getting the hang of this and I’ve leaned to separate out a single layer on google earth that I can upload as a fire. I have successfully made a few ‘places’ now and they look good, but I’ve hit the daily limit so I won’t be adding too many fires at once I guess.

I appreciate all the advice from you all!

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