About Us

The availability of current and explicit geospatial information characterizing the location and intensity of fire activity is essential for tactical wildfire management. The USDA Forest Service National Infrared Operations (NIROPS) Unit addresses this operational need through effective acquisition, pre-processing and near real-time delivery of high resolution airborne infrared imagery and fire detection data to infrared interpreters. The timely availability of acquired imagery and derived data enables infrared interpreters to generate tactical scale fire mapping products that support situational awareness and informed decision-making by incident command teams.

In the early 1960s, the Forest Service began research into the use of thermal infrared technology to support wildfire suppression efforts. Since the late 1960s, the Forest Service has conducted thermal imaging and fire detection operations for the agency and broader interagency wildfire management community. Today, NIROPS conducts nationwide support operations through coordination between Region 4 Fire and Aviation Management (F&AM) and the and the National Infrared Program Manager. Relevant technical assistance to NIROPS is provided by the Geospatial Technology and Applications Center (GTAC). NIROPS roles and responsibilities by these entities are summarized below.

National Infrared Program Manager:
Region 4 F&AM:
NIICD Infrared Branch:

View sample Phoenix imagery.