QR codes and wildfire


You have probably seen these strange looking hieroglyphs showing up in many places. They are QR codes, a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera. It may direct the viewer to a website, make a phone call, display text, or deliver an electronic business card. For example the one below if scanned by a smart phone will take you to Wildfire Today’s web site where you can bookmark it and easily find it again. Or visit our Contact Us page to see a QR code you can scan to give us a phone call.

WildfireToday.com QR code

The other day I found a QR code in an unexpected location, at the top of an update about the Wallow fire issued by the incident management team. It takes you to the InciWeb page for the fire. Makes sense, I suppose.

Wallow fire QR
Wallow fire, InciWeb

But on June 21 there was a QR code on the Wallow fire update that looked different:

Wallow QR Prometheus
Wallow QR code, June 21

When your smart phone reads it, you’ll see this:

If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how ought all the gods honor the men who make it their professional business to put it out? ~John Godfrey Saxe

Unexpected, to say the least.

But what pushed me over the edge to write this article about QR codes related to wildfire was an article at Jacksonville.com about the fires in Florida, which included this in a sidebar:

Jacksonville.com QR
Jacksonville.com QR

The Fire Map QR takes you to a Google map that shows the location of fires in the state. Weather leads to a weather forecast for the Jacksonville area. Q & A goes to a mobile-optimized CoverItLive site with real-time questions, answers, and updates about “First Coast Wildfires”. Fire Stories takes you to a mobile-optimized site with a list of links to news stories about recent wildfires.

One issue about putting QR codes on a web site is that if you’re viewing the site on a computer, how likely are you to pick up your smart phone and scan a QR code to view a site on a tiny screen? But if you do, you can bookmark it and view it on your phone later when you don’t have access to a computer… I guess.

QRStuff.com allows you to make your own QR codes. Fast Company has an article listing 13 creative ways to use QR codes for marketing.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “QR codes and wildfire”

  1. Sorry about the confusion about which QR I was referring to. The quote just seemed appropriate considering the circumstances.

  2. If the actual update that the second QR is attached to is read, you will find that the lead paragraph concerns the loss of two Florida Division of Forestry firefighters. I would expect that the QR has something to do with the lead paragraph?

    1. I think what GregLt is trying to say, is that the THIRD QR code above was found on the June 21 Wallow fire update from the incident management team, which includes this paragraph that I had not previously seen:

      “Yesterday, two firefighters with the Florida Division of Forestry were killed while working on the Blue Ribbon Fire in Florida. On behalf of the 3,500 firefighters on the Wallow Fire and all of us in the firefighting community, our heartfelt condolences go out to their families and their co-workers. “If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how ought all the gods honor those who make it their professional business to put it out?” ~John Godfrey Saxe”

      But just to confirm, the QR code on that document leads only to the Saxe quote, with no mention of the Florida fatalities.


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