Base All Actions On Current And Expected Fire Behavior

Weather - Fire Behavior
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Aug 2021


3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire. A firefighter looks at his watch, which reads 2 PM, while a fire actively grows in steep terrain and heavy timber.

3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.

Fire managers make decisions throughout the day on how to suppress fires and best use resources while protecting life and property. This Standard Firefighting Order depicts a firefighter observing increased fire behavior during a time of day when temperatures are high and relative humidity is low.

Read about all 10 Standard Firefighting Orders.

Discussion Points:

  • Can you observe the area or use scouts? What information are the scouts looking for?
  • Have escape routes and safety zones been thoroughly scouted? List some ways your crew will scout out an area before you begin working.
  • Are escape routes and safety zones marked for night use? How do you adjust marking safety zones and escape routes for night use?
  • Have potential dangers been located and can they be dealt with? List some dangerous fire behavior you may encounter and how you would deal with it.
  • Do you have access to weather and fire behavior forecasts? What is your unit’s procedure for obtaining forecasts?
  • Can the resources you are replacing give you a thorough briefing? What information will you want to get from these resources?
  • To reduce risk, initiate the following:
    • Post lookouts.
    • Check communications.
    • Retreat if you have doubts about your escape routes or safety zones, or if the situation becomes too complex. Discuss fires where you have adjusted your actions based on current and expected fire behavior.

How would you judge the fire season? (Above normal, below normal, or average.)


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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