Aviation Watch Outs

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2020


As part of risk management, especially during high activity fires, each aviation manager and employee should be asking questions about every mission.

  • Is the flight necessary?
  • Who is in charge?
  • Are hazards identified and known?
    • Have flight hazards been assessed? Have the pilots been informed?
  • Should the operation or the flight be stopped due to a change in conditions? Consider the following:
    • Radio communications.
    • Environmental conditions – weather, visibility, terrain, elevation, temperatures.
    • Mission priorities.
    • Successful mission completion probabilities.
  • Is there a better way to complete the mission?
  • Is there pressure to complete a mission at all costs?
  • Can you justify your actions?
  • Is the mission airspace confined or congested?
    • Multiple aircraft.
    • Mixed types of aircraft.
    • Poor visibility.
  • Do you have an escape route?
  • Are any guidelines or policies being ignored?
  • Is communication between any individuals strained or tense?
  • Are you deviating from the assigned operation or flight?


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
10 Standard Firefighting Orders, PMS 110 
18 Watch Out Situations, PMS 118
10 & 18 Poster, PMS 110-18
NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
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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