Taking A Nap Near The Fireline

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2021


18. Taking a nap near fireline. A fire is burning on the left side.  Four firefighters lie on the ground napping on the right side.

18. Taking a nap near fireline.

Managing fatigue during wildland fire suppression is important for firefighter health and safety. This Watch Out depicts fire behavior increasing while firefighters take a nap without a lookout.

Read about all 18 Watch Out Situations.

Firefighting is often exhausting work and firefighters can find themselves needing to sleep while on the fireline. Before pausing to rest, firefighters must weigh the following:

  • Are lookouts posted? Discuss who that lookout can be. Can the lookout on the knob across the draw watch over you, or does it need to be your partner on the fireline alternating rest times?
  • Is the area free of hazards (falling snags or rolling materials, etc.)? Discuss what you need to do to create a safe resting area.
  • Are you still within agency work and rest guidelines? Review these guidelines.
  • Does your crew need a break? Have they been pushed too hard? Talk about situations where you need to simply take yourself and/or your crew off the fireline for uninterrupted rest.

To reduce risks:

  • Keep lookouts posted and rotate them.
  • Communicate crew conditions and status to supervisor or chain-of-command contact.

Discuss ways to rest on the fireline and suggestions for methods to alternate shifts for more effective firefighting.


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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