Downhill Fireline Construction Checklist

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
May 2020


Downhill fireline construction is hazardous in steep terrain, fast-burning fuels, or rapidly changing weather. Downhill fireline construction should not be attempted unless there is no tactical alternative. When building downhill fireline, the following is required:

  • Crew supervisor(s) and fireline overhead discuss assignments prior to committing crew(s). Responsible overhead individual (TFLD or ICT4 qualified or better) will stay with resources until the job is completed.
  • Decision will be made after proposed fireline has been scouted by supervisor(s) of involved crew(s).
  • LCES (Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones) will be coordinated for all personnel involved.
    • Crew supervisor(s) is in direct contact with lookout who can see the fire.
    • Communication is established between all crews.
    • Rapid access to safety zone(s) is ensured in case fire crosses below crew(s).
  • Direct attack will be used whenever possible; if not possible, the fireline should be completed between anchor points before being fired out.
  • Fireline will not lie in or adjacent to a chute or chimney.
  • Starting point will be anchored for crew(s) building fireline down from the top.
  • Bottom of the fire will be monitored; if the potential exists for the fire to spread, action will be taken to secure the fire edge.
  • Can fire be carried with you?


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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