Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology

This glossary provides the wildland fire community a single source for wildland fire and incident management terminology commonly used by the NWCG and its subgroups.

One of the NWCG goals is to standardize terms and definitions within the NWCG community. To support this goal, NWCG is directing that all NWCG products that contain terms and definitions be based on this Glossary for the purpose of maintaining definition consistency and clarity among documents.

Please email any comments to the Data Standards and Terminology Subcommittee at

Understanding the Glossary Process

Why Does NWCG Need to Develop Glossary Terms?

The Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology provides an extensive listing of terms and definitions used by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) community.  This document contains terms commonly used by NWCG in the areas of wildland fire and incident management and is not intended to list all terms used by NWCG members and users.

This glossary helps to improve communication and provide consistency in terminology usage throughout those organizations with a mission of wildland fire management. It will also facilitate consistent use of glossary terms in publications, course development, and incident management activities.

NWCG has directed that all NWCG glossaries will be based upon the Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology for the purpose of maintaining definition consistency and clarity among documents.

A glossary entry includes a term with one or more definitions.

Glossary entries related to technical specialist, wildland fire and ICS positions have been removed from the NWCG Glossary. Position information can be found in multiple documents such as the PMS 310-1, PMS 210 and AD pay plan. Efforts are underway to consolidate this information into one location for future reference.

How are Terms Developed and Maintained within NWCG?

NWCG develops and maintains a robust library of wildland fire data specific glossary terms that enable the common usage of terminology across wildland fire information systems.  The glossary publication is updated annually which allows committees and organizations time to incorporate changes. A NWCG Committee is assigned as a “Glossary Stewardship Group” to develop or revise a glossary term. The Glossary Stewardship Group acts as the subject matter experts to ensure accuracy of definitions and consistency across agencies.

Copyright and Trademark Information

This glossary is compiled and maintained under the stewardship of the NWCG Data Standards and Terminology Subcommittee (DSTS).  NWCG has approved this information for the guidance of its subgroups and member agencies and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of this information by anyone otherwise.

This NWCG information is in the public domain. Use of the information, including copying, is permitted. Use of NWCG information within another document is permitted using accurate and proper citation to avoid plagiarism.

The NWCG logo may not be used except on NWCG authorized information. "National Wildfire Coordinating Group", "NWCG", and the NWCG logo are trademarks of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication is for the information and convenience of the reader and does not constitute an endorsement by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

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