National Wildfire Coordinating Group

S-443, Infrared Interpreter for Incident Management, N/A

S-443 Decorative banner: Three photos of wildland fire infrared operations. Photo of a man standing over the shoulder of a woman working at a computer screen discussing findings. An image of the beam that covers the area an infrared image covers. An aerial of an infrared image with an inset of a small plane logo of the National Infrared Operations group.

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S-443 is typically offered once a year to provide students with the knowledge and skills required of an Infrared Interpreter (IRIN) as well as how and where the IRIN fits into the information flow of an incident. The students use infrared imagery from the Phoenix system to interpret and map the heat perimeter and heat concentrations, calculate acreage burned and produce summary products. Understanding of topographic map reading and basic fire behavior are preferred but not required. The course combines lecture/discussion,  multiple exercises, and there is a pass/fail final exam.


Upon completion of this course, the student will have the knowledge, skills, and resources to support wildland fire incidents as an IRIN trainee. This includes:

  • Understand capabilities and limitations of thermal infrared imagery.
  • Interpret Phoenix infrared imagery to map heat perimeters and heat concentrations accurately on a topographic base.
  • Produce GIS-ready shapefiles, kmz files, maps, and logs utilizing standard IR naming conventions for delivery to the incident.
  • Establish and maintain proper communications with the Situation Unit Leader (SITL) and others on an incident, dispatchers, IR pilots and technicians, and National and/or Regional IR coordinators.

Target Group

Federal, state, and local agency personnel with GIS skills interested in supporting wildland fire incidents. Candidates from all agencies involved in wildland fire management are encouraged to apply.

NOTE: Knowledge and skill in GIS is required for this course. Although some new functionality is presented, the student is expected to be comfortable working with, and creating products in, GIS.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Working knowledge of the current version of ArcGIS. The course is designed for those comfortable working with ArcMap.
  • Adept at working within the directory structures in Windows and in use of Windows Explorer file management and folder structures.

Session Offerings

Sessions of this course may be available in the NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP). Enrollment requires an account. Log on as a guest to search for session offerings of this course and to view other public content. To search for a specific course, use the FIND LEARNING menu at the top of the page, then select UPCOMING COURSES. To view Geographic Area training schedules, select the specific GEOGRAPHIC AREA information using the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.



S-443 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course Component Course Time
Pre-course work 4
Pre-selection assessment N/A
Online training N/A
Instructor-led training 32
Total Hours 36

Course Level

Regional, state, or area

Minimum Instructor Qualifications

The National Infrared Program Manager is responsible for selecting the cadre for the course, and will typically serve as lead instructor. All instructors will be fully qualified Infrared Interpreters (IRIN) with substantial incident experience as IRINs. This course is not available through the publications management system. For more information contact the National Infrared Program Manager, Tom Mellin (

See NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1, Instructor Standards for more information.


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