National Wildfire Coordinating Group

2021 WOR Day 2: Leadership Level 1 Follower (Provide Action)

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Leadership Level 1, Follower (Provide Action)

Followers have several responsibilities: to become competent in basic job skills, take initiative, learn from others, ask questions, and develop communication skills.

Key elements related to operating at the Follower Level

  • Followership begins the journey of becoming a Student of Fire.
  • Part of being a leader is exercising good followership and understanding human dynamics. For more information on human dynamics refer to pages 46-49 of Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, PMS 494-2.
  • Ask questions to increase individual knowledge and improve the safety of self and team members.
  • Have a knowledge of the elements of Human Factor Barriers to Situation Awareness (Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, white section)  to understand how human elements can contribute to team performance and fireline safety.

Who in your crew, team, or group is currently at Leadership Level 1?

Thirtymile Fire – July 9, 2001, Initial Attack

Watch Learning from the Thirtymile Fire video from start to 25:00 minutes

At 2126 hours on July 9, 2001, a fire is reported near the road along the Chewuch River. The fire is about five acres with two spots ahead of it. An engine with three firefighters arrives just after 2300. One engine arrives just before midnight, and an Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) arrives at 0100 hours. By 0530 on July 10th there are seven spots covering about five to six acres. Two spots are approximately one acre each.

After getting the call to respond to a fire around midnight, a regular Type 2 Crew formed up into two utility vans and a pickup truck. Around 0300, they began the three-hour drive to the incident. At 0700, the crew is briefed at a ranger station prior to heading to the fire and is informed that they will be doing mop-up. They arrive at the fire at 0900. The assigned IHC leaves the fire for rest at 1100. Mid-morning, fire intensity increases with more frequent torching and increasingly longer spotting distances. By about noon, the crew is experiencing difficulties with the pumps and multiple broken handtools. Just after noon, the Incident Commander (IC) requests additional resources, including a helicopter.

A purple ribbon symbolizing remembrance of those who have passed away. Discussion Questions:

Use events described above and your experience to answer:

  • What does Student of Fire mean to you? Why is it important to be one?
  • Why do followers need to understand human dynamics?
  • What are some examples of human factors that affect decision-making and team performance and can be barriers to situational awareness? How can you account for these human factors and improve your performance?


Week of Remembrance
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Jun 2023

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