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Air Force RC-26 aircraft map, ID wildfire hotspots in western US

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, sits on the flight line prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard and 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard, use their highly mobile platforms in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the Western region of the U.S. in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore. As of Aug. 9, the RC-26 crews have flown 60 missions creating infrared images and video of hotspots in order to help direct teams to those locations before they become fires. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

Capt. Alex McArdel, 141st Air Refueling Wing RC-26B aircraft mission systems officer, uses the aircraft's camera to map and detect wildland fires in the north-western region of the United States, August 1, 2021.

Capt. Alex McArdel, 141st Air Refueling Wing RC-26B aircraft mission systems officer, uses the aircraft's camera to map and detect wildland fires in the northwestern region of the United States, August 1, 2021. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots from up to 60 nautical miles away before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response in support of the U.S. Forest Service. (Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Adam King)

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, departs on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, departs on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andy Rathbum, a RC-26 mission system operator assigned to the141st Operations Group, Washington Air National Guard, maps the Chetco Bar fire in southern Oregon using the RC-26s camera Sept. 2, 2017, Brookings, Oregon.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andy Rathbum, a RC-26 mission system operator assigned to the141st Operations Group, Washington Air National Guard, maps the Chetco Bar fire in southern Oregon using the RC-26s camera Sept. 2, 2017, Brookings, Oregon. Before the RC-26 were used to map fires, firefighters would drive out along the fire line to map out its location, taking hours to complete, putting the firefighters in danger and causing information to be 25-36 hours out of date. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sean Campbell)

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, sits on the flight line prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, sits on the flight line prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

Capt. Chris Coenen, 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard, RC-26B pilot, performs a preflight check of the U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft prior to departing for a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

Capt. Chris Coenen, 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard, RC-26B pilot, performs a preflight check of the U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft prior to departing for a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021. Coenen is flying with the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

Airmen from the 141st Operations Group, Washington Air National Guard, walk toward an RC-26B Metroliner aircraft at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

Airmen from the 141st Operations Group, Washington Air National Guard, walk toward an RC-26B Metroliner aircraft at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard and 141st Air Refueling Wing, Washington Air National Guard, use their highly mobile platforms in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the Western region of the U.S. in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore. As of Aug. 9, the RC-26 crews have flown 60 missions creating infrared images and video of hotspots in order to help direct teams to those locations before they become fires. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)