||World Heritage sites provide a key mechanism for protecting areas of universal importance. However, fifty-four UNESCO sites are currently listed as “In Danger”, with 40% of these located in the Middle East. Since 2010 alone, thirty new sites were identified as under risk globally. We combined big-data and remote sensing to examine whether they can effectively be used to identify danger to World Heritage in near real-time. We found that armed-conflicts substantially threaten both natural- and cultural-heritage listed sites. Other major risks include poor management and development (globally), poaching (Africa mostly) and deforestation (tropics), yet conflict is the most prominent threat. We show that news-mining of big-data on conflicts and remote sensing of nights-lights enabled us to identify conflict afflicted areas in near real-time. These findings provide a crucial avenue for developing a global transparent early-warning system before irreversible damage to world heritage takes place.