Infrared mapping crews were busy last night


NIROPs_KingAir_LogoThe technicians and pilots staffing the two U.S. Forest Service infrared (IR) aircraft mapping wildland fires were busy Tuesday night as usual.

Here is a list of the fires they worked last night:

  1. Pine Creek
  2. Cache Creek
  3. Millie
  4. Powell SBW Complex
  5. Nineteen Mile
  6. Mustang
  7. Elevation Mountain
  8. Fort Complex
  9. Porcupine
  10. Halstead
  11. Bagley
  12. Trinity Ridge
  13. Mcguire

They work at night because that is when there is a greater difference between the heat of the fire and everything else. After they collect the data from thousands of feet over the fire, they transmit it by radio, Aircell, to computer servers on the ground where it is retrieved by Infrared Interpreters who analyze it and produce maps showing the perimeter of the heat that was detected, including spot fires outside the main perimeter and concentrations of intense heat, or areas with little or none. This is valuable information for the Planning and Operations Sections staffing the fire who make the information available for firefighters at their morning operational period briefings.

The USFS typically operates two IR planes during fire season, a Cessna Citation and a King Air B-200, but can call up a third, an old King Air 90, if things get really busy. They have also contracted with private vendors to provide IR services if the government aircraft can’t handle the workload.

More information about National Infrared Operations.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Infrared mapping crews were busy last night”

  1. Bill..thanks for the great write up. We, the flight crews, really appreciate it. Unfortunately, the King Air 90 has been “downed” and we currently operate only the Bravo and the 200. Your information is always spot on and good information for wildland fire aviators everywhere. Thank you.

    1. Thank YOU Woody, for what you, the other techs, pilots, interpreters, and GIS folks do… working late into the night during fire season.

      And by saying the King Air 90 is “downed”, what does that mean exactly?

  2. And don’t forget about the times that the USFS ships can’t fill all the requests all and the data shows up anyway, from the military…Just take the data and dont ask any questions…

  3. I am a GISS for the Forest Service and can’t say how helpful these guys are with getting up to date fire perimeters to folks on the ground who need them.


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