The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) remotely- deployed Brian Mitchell to serve as an Infrared Interpreter for National Infrared Operations (NIROPS). Infrared Interpreters do not physically deploy to a particular wildfire incident. Instead, they work remotely to support major wildfires nationwide. Their job is to work through the night mapping fire perimeters, isolated heat sources, and intense and scattered heat. This information is provided to each incident they are supporting, in time for the daily morning briefing. Two airplanes are utilized to gather data, a Cessna Citation Bravo II jet, and a Beechcraft Super King Air 200 turboprop; both equipped with Phoenix thermal scanners. Mitchell currently serves the Mississippi Forestry Commission as the Geographic Information Systems Program Director. Mitchell is working night shifts as an Infrared Interpreter with NIROPS for approximately two weeks.
“In recent years, great strides have been made regarding the use of technology as wildfire suppression tools,” said Charlie Morgan, State Forester. “Wildland Firefighters depend on the support of people with many different roles and skill sets to manage the logistics of wildfire incidents behind the scenes. Thanks to the work of Infrared Interpreters such as Brian, incident management teams can form better attack- strategies based on mapping data from thermal scanners.”
As of September 10, 2018, three MFC employees are actively assigned to various wildfire incidents as single resources.