Safety Zones 2 (LCES)

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
May 2021


Continued from: Safety Zones 1 (LCES)


Safety Zones are locations where a threatened firefighter can find adequate refuge from an approaching fire. Unfortunately, some shelter deployment sites have been incorrectly called safety zones. Safety zones are locations where no fire shelter is needed.

This isn’t meant to deter a firefighter from deploying their shelter if needed but to clarify that the location is not a true safety zone if a shelter deployment is necessary.

Fireline intensity and topographic location determine a safety zone’s effectiveness.

  • How have you distinguished between a safety zone and a deployment zone?
  • Is refuge in a vehicle or house an acceptable tactic?

Consider access to the incident. You are often confronted with considerable distances of unburned fuel to cross. How do you manage Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES)?



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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