The utility of the new GOES-9 satellite 3.9 um channel to monitor wildfires and their subsequent changes in growth and intensity in Alaska is examined. The June, 1996 Miller's Reach forest fire is presented as a case study. Eighteen hours of sequential imagery coincident to the initiation and early stages of the fire are analyzed for hot spots. The dramatic response of the 3.9 um channel to sub-pixel hot spots and the ability to access the data every 15 minutes makes the channel an effective tool to support forest fire management on wild-fires in high latitudes to at least 61 degrees N. In the case of Miller's Reach, the fire was detected when it was less than 200 hectares in size. Changes in fire growth and intensity were also observed. An automated technique for decision makers which classifies hot spots without requiring image interpretation is proposed.