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National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)

Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology


PMS 205

October 2014

NWCG home | Glossary


Understanding the Glossary Process

Why Does NWCG Need to Develop Glossary Terms?
The Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology provides an extensive listing of terms and definitions used by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) community.  This document contains terms commonly used by NWCG in the areas of wildland fire and incident management and is not intended to list all terms used by NWCG members and users.

This glossary helps to improve communication and provide consistency in terminology usage throughout those organizations with a mission of wildland fire management. It will also facilitate consistent use of glossary terms in publications, course development, and incident management activities.

NWCG has directed that all NWCG glossaries will be based upon the Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology for the purpose of maintaining definition consistency and clarity among documents.

A glossary entry includes a term with one or more definitions.

How are Terms Developed and Maintained within NWCG?
NWCG develops and maintains a robust library of wildland fire data specific glossary terms that enable the common usage of terminology across wildland fire information systems.  The glossary publication is updated annually which allows committees and organizations time to incorporate changes. A NWCG Committee is assigned as a “Glossary Stewardship Group” to develop or revise a glossary term. The Glossary Stewardship Group acts as the subject matter experts to ensure accuracy of definitions and consistency across agencies.

Reference Definitions

Some of the terms within this glossary will be followed by initials or will have references or comments at the end of the definition to help broaden the recognition and understanding of the term. An explanation of those references is as follows:

Also called:

Means there is another term that may sometimes be in use, but is not defined in this glossary.


A name made up of the initial letters of a multi-word term or official title. An acronym appears in parentheses following the term.


Means there is another, preferred term that should be used instead. In such a case only the preferred term is defined in this glossary.

See Also:

Means there are one or more related terms that may also be of interest to the glossary user. The related terms are also defined in this glossary.


Means the term is synonymous with another. The terms have the same, or essentially the same, definition and the terms are interchangeable in their use.

Copyright and Trademark Information

This glossary is compiled and maintained under the stewardship of the NWCG Data Standards and Terminology Subcommittee (DSTS).  NWCG has approved this information for the guidance of its subgroups and member agencies and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of this information by anyone otherwise.

This NWCG information is in the public domain. Use of the information, including copying, is permitted. Use of NWCG information within another document is permitted using accurate and proper citation to avoid plagiarism.

The NWCG logo may not be used except on NWCG authorized information. "National Wildfire Coordinating Group", "NWCG", and the NWCG logo are trademarks of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication is for the information and convenience of the reader and does not constitute an endorsement by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.