10 Standard Firefighting Orders

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
May 2021


A poster with individual line art drawings of the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations used to educate wildland firefighters of the dangers and situations to be aware of.

The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations, as referenced in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, provide wildland firefighters with a set of consistent best practices and a series of scenarios to be mindful of when responding to a wildland fire.

View the 10 and 18 Poster, PMS 110-18.

The orders are arranged according to their importance and grouped in a logical sequence: fire behavior, fireline safety, and organizational control.

Review and consider Standard Firefighting Orders as a part of every shift.

  • Did you receive or request an adequate briefing, including weather, current and predicted fire behavior, wind direction, predicted humidity, fuel moisture, and/or local factors?
  • Do you have a map of the fire? Are topography, fuel types, and spread direction defined?

The Fire Behavior group addresses conditions the firefighter will encounter – weather, fire status, and fire behavior.

  1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.
  2. Know what your fire is doing at all times.
  3. Base all actions on the current and expected behavior of the fire.
  • Are you familiar with direction, distance, location, and size of escape routes and safety zones?
  • Discuss the need for a lookout, such as extreme fire behavior or a fire located out of your line-of-sight.
  • Discuss the importance of situational awareness.

The Fireline Safety group emphasizes personal safety.

  1. Identify escape routes and safety zones, and make them known.
  2. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.
  3. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.
  • Review the importance and means of sharing tactical decisions and resource movement.
  • Review other factors influencing potential changes in tactics, which could affect control of your forces.

The Organizational Control group is centered around tactical decisions.

  1. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.
  2. Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood.
  3. Maintain control of your forces at all times.
  • After you have considered, discussed, and acted on the previous nine orders:
  1. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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