Navigation apps like Alphabet Inc.’s Waze, which can do wonders directing drivers through traffic, backfired for some motorists trying to maneuver around the wildfires that are raging across Southern California.
Drivers have posted on Twitter that apps including Waze have steered them toward the flames. The Los Angeles Police Department warned motorists during a press conference Wednesday to be cautious using navigation apps near fiery areas and to obey all road blocks, spokesman Mike Lopez said by phone.
Waze is in contact with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to identify fire zones and has updated its mapping to reflect about 150 road segments that are closed, Chelsea Russo, a spokeswoman for the app, said Thursday. The fires are moving so fast that Waze has had a tough time keeping up with their location, she said.
Strong winds fanned the fires, which are burning from Los Angeles’s wealthy Bel-Air neighborhood to Ventura, about 60 miles to the northwest. Authorities temporarily closed parts of Interstate 405, the major freeway connecting the San Fernando Valley with job centers on the west side of Los Angeles, forcing thousands to seek alternate routes through the hills on Wednesday.