[Cross-posted from the Google Australia Blog. Updates will be posted on the Google Australia Blog. --Ed.]

Over the weekend, a terrible bushfire tragedy has been unfolding in Victoria, Australia.

We've today pulled together a Flash Map, containing the latest up-to-date information about fire locations and their status from the Country Fire Authority (CFA). The Flash Map is updated in real-time from the CFA website via an RSS feed. We hope that it's of some use to people who may be affected, to emergency services personnel, and that it takes some load off other websites which are being inundated. The map certainly makes the scale of this disaster immediately apparent.

Update at 6:10pm Victoria time: To explain the map, the number in each marker shows the number of fires at the location. A green marker means the area is called "safe" by the CFA. Yellow means "controlled". Orange means "contained". Red means "going".

Update at 8:45pm. Address search functionality added.

Victoria Fires Map
Gadgets powered by Google

If you want to embed a gadget containing this map on your website, you can do so by clicking here.

We're working to incorporate additional bushfire information into the map and will let you know of any additional updates on this blog.

There's a lot of additional information on the web about the location and status of fires and road closures, and what to do to keep safe. Due to traffic load, please only visit the first three sites below if your personal safety is potentially impacted by the fires.

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this tragedy, and our thanks to the brave members of the Victorian police, Country Fire Authority and emergency services who are working so hard to save lives.