National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Policy Documents And Agency Guidelines

NFDRS header graphic. Decorative.


The National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and the Weather Information Management System (WIMS) are the principle applications used by the federal land management agencies to assess fire danger. At every scale, fire danger rating is a key consideration for staffing and prepositioning preparedness resources, regulating industrial activity, or placing restrictions on public lands. Because these assessments are used by and affect a wide variety of stakeholders including federal and state agencies, local governments, industrial and other private entities, as well as the general public, participation in a recognized fire danger system, and careful management of weather and fire data is vital to ensure accurate assessments and the consistent application of fire danger rating, especially for broader scale assessments. 

Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)  Chapter 10

Understanding risk is central to the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. Living with and managing wildland fire inherently involves facing uncertainty, success may well hinge on how risk is properly quantified and assessed. Evaluation of risk is made possible with modern evaluation tools at the planning level. Since wildland fire crosses and affects all lands and resources regardless of jurisdictional ownership, it becomes necessary for all jurisdictions to assess the level of risk and participate in establishing roles and responsibilities for mitigating threat.

These truths identified in the Cohesive Strategy clarify the need for interagency involvement; vertically from local to federal governments and horizontally across the entire nation.  Completing a zone level Fire Danger analysis cooperatively among all jurisdictions, implemented when planning for and responding to wildland fire activities align with National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy objectives.

Two Guiding Principles and Core Values are: 

  1. Fire Management decisions are based on the best available science, knowledge and experience, and used to evaluate risk versus gain.
  2. Federal agencies, local, state, tribal governments support one another with wildfire response, including engagement in collaborative planning and the decision-making processes that take into account all lands and recognize the interdependence and statutory responsibilities among jurisdictions. 

A Direct Goal of the Cohesive Strategy Wildfire Response is:

All jurisdictions participate in making and implementing safe, effective, efficient risk-based wildfire management decisions. 

Although agency missions differ, an effective cohesive strategy must guide all organizations to recognize and accept each other’s management differences and promote a more cohesive response to the wildfire management challenges across all jurisdictions. 

Excerpts from A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy aka 'The Cohesive Strategy':

NWCG Documents

No 19-002 National Fire Danger Rating System 2016 Release.

No 18-001 National Fire Danger Rating System 2016 Release



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