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Nearly every wildfire fatality occurs within the first hour yet official notifications are often delayed, sparse, or non-existent.  Watch Duty, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, alerts you of nearby wildfires and firefighting efforts in real-time, when every second counts.

Our service is powered by real people – active and retired firefighters, dispatchers, and first responders – who monitor radio scanners and collaborate around the clock to bring you up-to-the-minute information.  Our staff are aided by software and bots scan the internet 24 hours a day and alert us to new fire starts from all publicly available data sources.

In less than three years with minimal funding we grew to over 1 million users and are used in every Red Cross and Office of Emergency Services, garnering the attention of Wired, The Guardian, and Popular Science.  We are now operating a full-time team supporting 100+ volunteers and reaching over 400,000 DAU’s (Daily Active Users) from PG&E to nearly every local firehouse across the Western US.

Our mapping paired with real-time radio scanner reporting allows us to create situational awareness that has never been seen before, let alone in one place. Lets face it, many of these data sources are publicly available whether it be satellite heat signatures or wind and weather data. The difference is that Watch Duty is operated by actual people with purpose built tools who can interpret and disseminate this information live. Our team of 100+ remote volunteers have created the next generation of Office of Emergency Services, but distributed (DOES). To learn more about how it all works please visit

Short Description

Watch Duty, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, alerts you of nearby wildfires and firefighting efforts in real-time, when every second counts.

Brand Assets


Official Watch Duty logos

App Screenshots

Watch Duty application screenshots displaying various aspects of the app


The Silicon Valley veterans who want to bring you wildfire info in real time

Watch Duty, launched last year, sends users push notifications about new and spreading fire, giving them vital time to prepare

A Crowdsourced Wildfire App Tracks All of California’s Blazes

Watch Duty is already a lifeline for the state’s residents. Its reach could soon extend to more disasters and regions.

This app is helping Californians stay on top of wildfire risks

An inside look at Watch Duty, a website called The Lookout, and a citizen-led quest for better information about fire dangers.

What to know about Watch Duty app, the citizen-directed wildfire alert system

"We’re not here telling anybody to evacuate. We’re the ones who are letting you know more information in real-time to make informed decisions," Watch Duty co-founder and CEO John Clarke Mills says.

Meet Watch Duty: the nonprofit app crowdsourcing wildfire data in real time

When the Walbridge fire ripped through northwest Sonoma County last year, Mills’ home was threatened, and he spent hours each day checking for updates on Facebook and Twitter, which were exploding with messages from concerned homeowners just like himself.

Citizen-Driven Network Monitors Public Service Radio For Natural Disaster Alerts

Time is of the essence in almost every emergency situation, especially when it comes to wildfires. A wind-driven fire can roar across a fuel-rich landscape like a freight train, except one that can turn on a dime or jump a mile-wide gap in a matter of seconds.

New app allows users to track wildfires in real time

As we move further into fire season, a new resource is aiming to keep Californians on top of wildfire risks and response.

California wildfire alert app coming to Oregon

Watch Duty, a wildfire alert app run by active and retired firefighters and first responders, is expanding its coverage to Oregon next week.

New wildfire information app to launch this week in the Northwest

The Watch Duty wildfire app will become available to users in several Western states, including Washington, Idaho and Oregon, beginning May 2.

Fire reporting app ‘Watch Duty’ launches in Oregon with real-time updates

A fire reporting app that allows users to report and monitor new and spreading fires in real time made its debut in Oregon and across the western U.S. Tuesday.

New wildfire information app launches in Oregon

The app is called Watch Duty and it was launched two years ago in California after the CEO and co-founder, John Mills, nearly lost his home from wildfires in 2020.

Wildfire information app expands to Oregon

A California nonprofit company has introduced an app that allows people to monitor wildfires in their area.

Get to Know The Watch Duty Fire Alert App

Nearly every wildfire fatality occurs within the first hour, yet official notifications are often delayed, sparse, or non-existent. Watch Duty, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, alerts you of nearby wildfires and firefighting efforts in real time when every second counts.

New app aims to keep people safer during wildfire season

The Inland Northwest is quickly heading into fire season, and this year residents will have a new tool to help them track wildfires.

Grants Pass Fire and Watch Duty Partner to Enhance Wildfire Response

Grants Pass Fire and Rescue announced a partnership with fire tracker app Watch Duty to host a Watch Duty Echo at their facility. This new technology will benefit Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties.


Red Cross Mass Care Chief Marianna Thomas recommends Watch Duty

Chief Marshall Turbeville recommends Watch Duty

Behind the Scenes of the Deadly Fairview Fire

New app tracks active wildfires across California

Wildfire Dispatch Tone Detection

Fire Extinguished by Locals

Mill Fire town hall meeting about Watch Duty

Siskiyou OES Watch Duty testimonial

Living with Wildfire

Community Testimonials

I use the Watch Duty app all the time to keep track of conditions wherever my son lands as a wildland firefighter. And then we had a fire in the eucalyptus forest just down the road from us. Watch Duty provided quick, comprehensive coverage during a very scary event. Thanks!

Beth R

“Having Watch Duty has reduced my stress level greatly. Just seeing how fast the firefighters jump on the wildfires and get them Forward Progress Stopped is very reassuring.”

Jana S.

“You guys are the best! You are my go-to first before CalFire or Yubanet. Thanks so much!”

Dennis G.
Yuba County

“As a cofounder of a firewise community, ... I get the most up-to-date and fastest information from Watch Duty and I find the updating to be very timely and accurate. I feel like I know almost immediately when there is a fire and that is a HUGE relief to me. ”

Stacey W.
Sonoma County