The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing has already proven very effective in hunting down suspects on the run. Now it's showing how it can help with another problem that happens all too much this time of year. And that's wildfires.

An "eye in the sky" for fighting large wildfires...

According to a post on the Massachusetts State Police Facebook page Tuesday, over the last couple of weeks, the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing has assisted Fire Departments throughout the state with multiple large wildfires.


Massachusetts State Police Facebook
Massachusetts State Police Facebook (Video Capture)

(Above: A birdseye view of a wildfire as scoped out by the MSP Air Wing)


Mapping technology and infrared are crucial tools...

The department is utilizing both of its aircraft's fire mapping technology, including their FLIR or Forward Looking Infrared cameras. The MSP flight crews have been able to identify the size and shape of the fires and the areas of greatest concern.


Massachusetts State Police Facebook
Massachusetts State Police Facebook (Video Capture)

(Above: Infrared view of a wildfire from the MSP Air Wing)


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The post says that the Air Wing can provide fire-ground incident commanders with real-time video and still images of the scene, allowing firefighting assets to be placed where they are needed most.

This video was taken by an MSP Air Wing crew during a support mission over a May 1 wildfire at the Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton:

*Video from Massachusetts State Police Facebook page


The crew in Air 3, responding from the unit's Plymouth Airbase, was in communication with both the Quincy and Milton Fire Departments. The fire-ground command post in the Blue Hills was monitoring live video downlinked from the helicopter to assist commanders in making tactical fire suppression decisions, according to Tuesday's Facebook post.


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