Fire Effects Monitor, FEMO

Position Category: 
Incident Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
AD Class: 


This position works within the Incident Management team on an incident level or at a local level for the Incident agency.


  • Reviews agency procedures, policies and regulations for wildland and/or prescribed fire through conversations with the supervisor and/or reading of appropriate manuals and handbooks;
  • Monitors, obtains, and records fire behavior data throughout the fire management operation. Recons burn unit area and plots the burn unit area on maps.
  • Monitors, obtains, and records weather data.
  • Monitors and documents burn patterns, fuel loadings and consumption, burn severity, plant mortality, scorch height, depth of burn, hydrophobicity, air quality, water quality, historic property related to fire treatment objectives.
  • Anticipates, characterizes, and reports the range of variability of effect due to changes in fire behavior.
  • Reports atmospheric characteristics that influence fire whirls, winds associated with thunderstorm cells and their effect on fire and wind speed changes and direction.
  • Monitors and records smoke management information. Maintains communication with the National Weather Service, weather observers and lookouts. Identifies smoke characteristics and recognizes and reports emission problems.
  • Collects and records environmental data. Collects appropriate fuel, soil, and vegetation samples for moisture analysis. Observes and records land and vegetation data that influences fire behavior.
  • Advises supervisor on monitoring progress and results, equipment problems, and safety of assigned personnel Advises on appropriate mitigating actions such as posting of lookouts, and identification of safety zones and escape routes.
  • Records fire movement; e.g., by taking photographs, recording growth on maps, calculating percentage of burn spread.
  • Compiles observed fire behavior and effects, information and data. Compares observed fire behavior and effects with that planned and anticipated. Completes a narrative report at the end of the wildland fire incident or prescribed burn that depicts how well the objectives were met.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • General knowledge of fire behavior, weather, and mapping.
  • Knowledge of the Incident Command System in order to provide advice and counsel for successful fire monitoring.
  • Skill in oral and written communication in order to provide direction and interpretation of policy, procedures and guidelines to supervisors and crew members.
  • Appropriate training for successful performance in this position may be met in part by the Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification Guide 310-1.

Supervisory Controls

This position reports to either the Long Term Fire Analyst (LTAN), the Fire Use manager (FUM1), or the Prescribed Fire Burn Boss. The supervisor defines objectives, priorities, and deadlines, and assists with unusual situations that do not have clear precedents or do not conform to established policies, practices, or procedures.

The incumbent plans and carries out the successive steps and handles problems and deviations in accord with instructions, policies, previous training, and accepted practices.

Completed work is usually evaluated for technical soundness and conformity to policy and requirements. Methods used by the incumbent are not usually reviewed in detail.


Specific and detailed guidelines can be found in the Fire Line Handbook and the Incident Pocket Response Guide. For prescribed burns, written burn plans are also available. Although specific and detailed, there are generally some gaps in specificity.

The incumbent must use seasoned judgment developed through training and experience to properly and effectively advise superiors.


The position plays a critical role not only in monitoring, recording and identifying components of a plan, but it also interprets instructions and plans independently in order to provide advisory and consultative services to fire management. The various choices available require the incumbent to recognize the choices and decide appropriately. The incumbent must recognize problems and use seasoned judgment to determine and advise on the appropriate approach.

Scope and Effect

The work involves gathering data to measure fire behavior and to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented prescribed burn plan. It involves treating a wide variety of conventional problems and situations in conformance with established criteria.
Recommendations and advice provided by the incumbent affect local incident operations processes.

Personal Contacts

The incumbent’s contacts are primarily with local fire personnel, working closely with the Fire Use Manager, Prescribed Fire Burn Boss, the Fire Management Officer, and/or the Agency administrator.

Purpose Of Contacts

The purpose of contacts is to advise local management on the fire status and the behavior of wildland fires or prescribed fire. Contacts require the incumbent to analyze fire behavior and to recommend changes that improve efficiencies.

Physical Demands

The work generally requires moderate physical exertion. Field work requires exposure to various extreme weather conditions. Twelve to fourteen hour shifts for up to fourteen consecutive days may be required during fire season.

Work Environment

The work is performed primarily in the field, mainly on un-level ground. Conditions are generally hot, Travel is required.

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: