There are currently multiple fires raging across Southern California, one of which forced the notoriously clogged 405 Freeway in Los Angeles to shut down.
Big fires force people to find new routes — including people using apps like Waze and Google Maps.
The problem? Those apps look for roads without many cars on them, and try to route you there. Which is great when you’re trying to avoid run-of-the-mill traffic. But not when the roads are clear because of nearby fires.
“The Los Angeles Police Department asked drivers to avoid navigation apps, which are steering users onto more open routes — in this case, streets in the neighborhoods that are on fire,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Bel-Air fire on the westside of LA destroyed at least 15 homes by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, according to the Times.
“The Los Angeles Police Department asked drivers to avoid navigation apps, which are steering users onto more open routes — in this case, streets in the neighborhoods that are on fire.” https://t.co/I3sICDIF4A
— Joel Rubin (@joelrubin) December 7, 2017
reached out to Google, which also owns Waze, for comment, and will update when the company replies. The LAPD did not specifically mention those two apps in its warning, but they’re extremely popular — both are currently in the top 40 most downloaded apps in the App Store.
Things are only getting worse for Los Angeles residents. On Wednesday, Angelenos received a text warning that strong winds overnight were creating “extreme fire danger.”