National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Fight Fire Aggressively, Having Provided for Safety First

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Mar 2022


10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first. A green fire engine is driving through thick grass and sage.  Three firefighters are spraying water at a fire's edge.  Along a road in the foreground, pink flagging is tied to brush to indicate an escape route.

10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.

The safety of firefighters and the public is always the top priority of wildland fire management agencies. This Standard Firefighting Order portrays an engine crew, with a clearly identified escape route in place, suppressing an active wildland fire.

Read about all 10 Standard Firefighting Orders.

Standard Firefighting Order #10 must be considered at all times when fighting fire. In order to fight fire safely and aggressively, every firefighter must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Is the suppression method adequate? Are we making progress? Are we beating our heads against a wall? Is there a better way to get this done?
    • Give examples of when you have had to change your suppression method.
  • Are there adequate resources and time for effective suppression? Do we need to retreat and reevaluate?
    • Talk about how you dealt with times when you realized you were not making progress on a fire.
  • Are lookouts posted? When you post lookouts, who would you choose to be a lookout, and where should they be located?
  • Are communications prompt with crews and other resources?
    • Review the importance of effective communications on the fireline.
  • Have escape routes and safety zones been established?
    • Talk about your crew’s procedure for establishing escape routes and safety zones. Review what constitutes an escape route and a safety zone.
  • Do you feel comfortable with your assignment?
    • Discuss how you evaluate the situation. Remind firefighters that every individual has the right to question an assignment.
  • To reduce the risks:
    • Post lookouts.
    • Establish trigger points.
    • Retreat if the situation is too complex. Emphasize that safety is everyone’s responsibility; we all want to be good firefighters and being safe is part of that.


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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