Glossary Acronyms/Initialisms

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

Acronym/Initialism Glossary Term Term description
6MFS 6 Minutes for Safety (6MFS)
  • A daily safety briefing for wildland fire that focuses on high risk events found within a firefighter's scope of work that are performed on an infrequent basis. Also know as Six Minutes for Safety.  View the Six Minutes for Safety website at
AGL  Above Ground Level (AGL)
  • Term frequently used in aviation operations, usually in connection with a stated altitude. 
ATE  Actual Time En Route (ATE)
  • Term used in flight planning/following to document actual time spent flying between points. 
ATA  Actual Time of Arrival (ATA)
  • Term used in flight planning/following to document time of arrival at a point. 
ATD  Actual Time of Departure (ATD)
  • Term used in flight planning/following to document time of departure from a point. 
APT  Administrative Payment Team (APT)
  • A team that supports incident agencies by processing payments for resources. Resources may include emergency equipment, casuals, local vendors for supplies, etc. 
AD  Administratively Determined (AD)
ALS  Advanced Life Support (ALS)
  • Advanced life support skills performed by an EMS practitioner or service, e.g. intravenous fluids and drug administration. 
AID  Aerial Ignition Device (AID)
AAR  After Action Review (AAR)
  • A structured review or de-brief process of an event, focused on performance standards, that enables participants to discover for themselves what happened, why it happened, and how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses. After action reviews, informal or formal, follow the same general format, involve the exchange of ideas and observations, and focus on improving performance. 
ASA  Air Stagnation Advisory (ASA)
  • (Also called Air Quality Alerts.)  A statement issued by a National Weather Service forecast office when atmospheric conditions are stable enough such that the potential exists for air pollutants to accumulate in a given area. The statement is initially issued when conditions are expected to last for at least 36 hours. 
AirNet  Aircraft Network (AirNet)
  • Applies to radio frequencies primarily used for air operations. 
AMRS  All Hazards Meteorological Response System (AMRS)
  • A mobile weather data collection and forecasting system consisting of a communications module, weather observing module, and data interigation module. Used by incident meteorologists on an incident. Source: NWS policy 10-402.
ATV  All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
  • Any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other terrain. 
AOP Annual Operating Plan (for Fire Weather) (AOP)
  • A procedural guide which describes fire meteorological services provided within the Geographic Area of responsibility, including the National Interagency Fire Center. The guide is based on the National Interagency Agreement and applicable Geographic Area Memorandum of Agreement. 
AWS  Automatic Weather Station (AWS)
  • A non-GOES telemetered weather station that provides hourly observations to a local database. 
BLS  Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Basic life support skills performed by an EMS practitioner or service, e.g. splinting, bandaging, oxygen administration, use of the AED. 
BACM  Best Available Control Measures (BACM)
  • An emission limitation action based on the maximum degree of emission reduction (considering energy, environmental, and economic impacts) achievable through application of production processes and available methods, systems, and techniques. 
BLEVE  Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE)
  1. The failure of a closed container as a result of overpressurization caused by an external heat source.
  2. A major failure of a closed liquid container into two or more pieces when the temperature of the liquid is well above its boiling point at normal atmospheric pressure. 
Btu  British Thermal Unit (Btu)
  • Amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit (from 59.50 to 60.50 F), measured at standard atmospheric pressure. 
BUI  Buildup Index (BUI)
  • A relative measure of the cumulative effect of daily drying factors and precipitation on fuels with a ten-day timelag. 
CO2  Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • A colorless, odorless, nonpoisonous gas, which results from fuel combustion and is normally a part of the ambient air. 
CO  Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete fuel combustion. 
CWPP  Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
  • A plan developed in the collaborative framework established by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council and agreed to by state, tribal, and local government, local fire department, other stakeholders and federal land management agencies managing land in the vicinity of the planning area. A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommends the types and methods of treatment on Federal and non-Federal land that will protect one or more at-risk communities and essential infrastructure and recommends measures to reduce structural ignitability throughout the at-risk community. A CWPP may address issues such as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, or structure protection - or all of the above. 
CAFS  Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS)
  • A generic term used to describe foam systems consisting of an air compressor (or air source), a water pump, and foam solution. 
CISD  Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)
  • The process in which teams of professional and peer counselors provide emotional and psychological support to incident personnel who are or have been involved in a critical (highly stressful) incident. 
DAID  Delayed Aerial Ignition Devices (DAID)
  • Polystyrene balls, 1.25 inches in diameter, containing potassium permanganate. The balls are fed into a dispenser, generally mounted in a helicopter, where they are injected with a water-glycol solution and then drop through a chute leading out of the helicopter. The chemicals react thermally and ignite in 25-30 seconds. The space between ignition points on the ground is primarily a function of helicopter speed, gear ratio of the dispenser, and the number of chutes used (up to four). 
DA  Departure from Average Greenness (DA)
  • An NDVI-derived image of vegetation greenness compared to its average greenness for the current week of the year. 
DOB  Depth of Burn (DOB)
  • The reduction in forest floor thickness due to consumption by fire. 
DDP  Designated Dispatch Point (DDP)
  • The address where the unit must be physically located, and dispatched from, during the mandatory availability period. 
DL  Distance Learning (DL)
  • A concept of providing access to quality wildland fire education and training using appropriate instructional technology, delivered anywhere, anytime to prepare a fire management work force to safely achieve fire management objectives. 
DME  Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)
  • Aircraft navigational equipment that provides the slant range distance in miles (kilometers) from the aircraft to the VOR station to which the DME is tuned, usually at or near an airport. 
DISE  Distributed Incident Simulation Exercise (DISE)
  • An on-line mission rehearsal event providing an individual or team with an experiential learning environment utilizing the National Interagency Incident Management System to "game" a computer generated incident from multiple training locations.
DZ  Drop Zone (DZ)
  • Target area for airtankers, helitankers, cargo dropping. 
DE  Dry Episode (DE)
  • A contiguous series of days having a pre-established number of fire ignitions with a fuel dryness level that historically resulted in a significant fire event for a particular area. 
EFF  Emergency Firefighter (EFF)
  • A person employed as an emergency worker on a forest or wildland fire which threatens damage to property under public management. Emergency firefighters are hired for the duration of the emergency only. 
ELT  Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
  • A radio transmitter attached to the aircraft structure which operates from its own power source on 121.5 MHz and 243 MHz. The transmitter transmits a distinctive downward swept audio tone for homing purposes and is designed to function without human action after an accident. 
EFp  Emission Factor (EFp)
  • The mass of particulate matter produced per unit mass of fuel consumed (pounds per ton, grams per kilogram). 
ERC  Energy Release Component (ERC)
  • The computed total heat release per unit area (British thermal units per square foot) within the flaming front at the head of a moving fire. 
EMC  Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC)
  • Moisture content that a fuel particle will attain if exposed for an infinite period in an environment of specified constant temperature and humidity. When a fuel particle reaches equilibrium moisture content, net exchange of moisture between it and its environment is zero. 
ETE  Estimated Time En Route (ETE)
  • Term used in resource planning/following to estimate time spent between points. 
ETA  Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
  • Term used in resource planning/following to estimate time of arrival at a point. 
ETD  Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)
  • Term used in resource planning/following to estimate time of departure from a point. 
FAR  Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR)
  • Refers to the regulations governing all aviation activities of civil aircraft within the United States and its territories. 
Fire Data Manipulation Program  FIRDAT (Fire Data Manipulation Program)
  • A routine of FIREFAMILY that combines historical weather records with the equations of the NFDRS to produce frequency distributions of the NFDRS indexes and components. 
FAC  Fire Adapted Community (FAC)
  • A human community consisting of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and taking action to safely co-exist with wildland fire. 
FIRES  Fire Information Retrieval and Evaluation System (FIRES)
  • A personal computer (PC) program that merges fire and weather/index files, and allows plotting and analysis of fire occurrence and fire danger. 
FLI  Fire Load Index (FLI)
  • Numerical rating of the maximum effort required to contain all probable fires occurring within a rating area during the rating period. 
FMP  Fire Management Plan (FMP)
FMU  Fire Management Unit (FMU)
  • A land area definable by specified management objectives, constraints, topographic features, access, values to be protected, political boundaries, fuel types, major fire regime groups, and other defined elements that set it apart from an adjacent area. The primary purpose of developing Fire Management Units in fire management planning is to assist in organizing information in complex landscapes. A fire management unit may have dominant management objectives and pre-selected strategies assigned to accomplish these objectives. 
FPU  Fire Planning Unit (FPU)
  • The geographic scope of the landscape defined for the fire management analysis. A Fire Planning Unit consists of one or more Fire Management Units. FPUs may relate to a single administrative unit, a sub-unit, or any combination of units or sub-units. FPUs are scalable and may be contiguous or non-contiguous. FPUs are not predefined by agency administrative unit boundaries, and may relate to one or more agencies. They may be described spatially. 
FWI  Fire Weather Index (FWI)
  • A numerical rating in the Canadian fire danger rating system, based on meteorological measurements of fire intensity in a standard fuel type. (The standard fuel type is representative of jack pine and lodgepole pine.) The FWI is comprised of three fuel moisture codes, covering classes of forest fuel of different drying rates, and two indices that represent rate of spread and the amount of available fuel. 
FIRETIP  Firefighting Technology Implementation Program (FIRETIP)
  • A computer program through which the technology of FIRESCOPE is transferred to areas outside southern California, where complex, multi-agency fires and other incidents commonly occur. 
Fire and Land Management Planning  Firelamp (Fire and Land Management Planning)
  • Computerized multi-resource model that simulates the effects that naturally caused prescribed fires have on the future production of natural resources such as timber, forage, wildlife, recreation, and water. 
FLE  Fireline Explosives (FLE)
  • Specially developed coils containing explosive powder that are detonated to create a fireline through ground fuels. 
FOFE  First Order Fire Effects (FOFE)
  • The effects that concern the direct or immediate consequences of fire, such as biomass consumption, crown scorch, bole damage, and smoke production. First order effects form an important basis for predicting secondary effects such as tree regeneration, plant succession, and changes in site productivity, but these involve interaction with many other non-fire variables. 
FORPLAN  Forest Planning Language and Simulator (FORPLAN)
  • Computer program developed to facilitate the use of simulation for integrating many different resource management activities, including fire, into the land management planning process. FORPLAN incorporates unique characteristics of previous systems, links numerous models and data bases, allows selection of variable resolution levels, and permits discrete time simulation of disturbances on plants, fuels, and animals. 
FWIS  Forestry Weather Information System (FWIS)
  • A real time system which takes observations and forecasts supplied by NWS in coded numeric form, reformats that input by computer based algorithms, and distributes the reformatted information as numeric and worded diagnoses and forecasts for specialized users in localized areas. 
FLIR  Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR)
  • Hand held or aircraft mounted device designed to detect heat differentials and display their images on a video screen. FLIRs have thermal resolution similar to IR line scanners, but their spatial resolution is substantially less; commonly used to detect hotspots and flareups obscured by smoke, evaluate the effectiveness of firing operations, or detect areas needing mopup. 
FRA  Friction Reducing Agent (FRA)
  • Water soluble substance that reduces frictional drag of solutions and dampens turbulent flow while being pumped through pipe or hose. 
DL  Fuel Dryness Level (DL)
  • A quantitative measure of fuel moisture and receptability to ignition as determined by an accepted Fire Danger Rating System index that influences fire growth, intensity, or activity. 
GPM  Gallons per Minute (GPM)
  • The measure of water flow in firefighting. It is used to measure the output of wildland and structural fire engines, pumps, hose streams, nozzles, hydrants, and water mains. 
GOA General Origin Area (GOA)
  • The larger area where the fire first established itself and is identified by an analysis of the fire behavior context, macroscale fire pattern indicators, and witness statements. Source: Guide to Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination, PMS 412.
    • Definition Extension: The general origin area includes within its boundary the specific origin area and ignition area and is typically less than ½ acre in size.     
GACG  Geographic Area Coordinating Group (GACG)
  • An interagency body of fire management representatives from each federal and state land management agency within a nationally recognized regional area that provides leadership and support to facilitate safe and efficient fire management activities. Working collaboratively, a GACG's mission is not only for wildland fire emergencies, but for other emergency incidents, as necessary.
GACC  Geographic Area Coordination Center (GACC)
  • The physical location of an interagency, regional operation center for the effective coordination, mobilization and demobilization of emergency management resources. A coordination center serves federal, state and local wildland fire agencies through logistical coordination of resources throughout the geographic area, and with other geographic areas, as well. Listings of geographic coordination centers and their respective geographic coordinating areas can be found within the National Interagency Mobilization Guide. 
GOES  Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)
GPS  Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • A system of navigational satellites operated by the U.S. Department of Defense and available for civilian use. The system can track objects anywhere in the world with an accuracy of approximately 40 feet. 
GAWR  Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
  • The value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum allowable weight placed on an axle of a vehicle when fully equipped, including payload, fluids and occupants. 
GVW  Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
  • Actual vehicle weight, including chassis, body, cab, equipment, water, fuel, crew, and all other load. 
GVWR  Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
  • The value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum allowable weight of a vehicle fully equipped, including payload, fluids and occupants. 
GTS  Gum Thickened Sulphate (GTS)
  • A dry chemical product which is mixed with water to form a fire retardant slurry. 
HIGE  Hovering in Ground Effect (HIGE)
  • The situation in which a helicopter is hovering sufficiently close to the ground to achieve added lift due to the effects of "ground cushion." The HIGE ceiling, for a given gross weight, thus is greater than the HOGE (Hovering Out of Ground Effect) ceiling.
IAP  Incident Action Plan (IAP)
  • Contains objectives reflecting the overall incident strategy and specific tactical actions and supporting information for the next operational period. The plan may be oral or written. When written, the plan may have a number of attachments, including: incident objectives, organization assignment list, division assignment, incident radio communication plan, medical plan, traffic plan, safety plan, and incident map. Formerly called shift plan. 
ICP  Incident Command Post (ICP)
  • Location at which primary command functions are executed. The ICP may be collocated with the incident base or other incident facilities. 
ICS  Incident Command System (ICS)
  • A standardized on-scene emergency management concept specifically designed to allow its user(s) to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. 
IAS  Indicated Airspeed (IAS)
  • The speed of an aircraft as shown on its pitot static airspeed indicator. Calibrated to reflect standard atmosphere adiabatic compressible flow at sea level, uncorrected for airspeed system errors. 
IFPL  Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL)
  • An application of fire danger rating to support regulation of contractors involved in land management activities for fire prevention purposes in the Pacific Northwest. 
IR  Infrared (IR)
  • A heat detection system used for fire detection, mapping, and hotspot identification.
IA  Initial Attack (IA)
IAF  Initial Attack Fire (IAF)
  • Fire that is generally contained by the attack units first dispatched, without a significant augmentation of reinforcements, within two hours after initial attack, and full control is expected within the first burning period. 
ID  Inside Diameter (ID)
  • The internal diameter of a tube, conductor, or coupling, as distinguished from its OD (Outside Diameter). Fire hose sizes are classified by a nominal internal diameter. 
IFR  Instrument Flight Rules Conditions (IFR)
  • Weather conditions below the minimum for flight under Visual Flight Rules and therefore requiring the observance of instruments inside the aircraft for controlling flight; generally considered to be less than 1000' AGL and 3 miles distant. 
ILS  Instrument Landing System (ILS)
  • System for airplane landing in which the pilot is guided by radio beams. 
IMI  Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI)
  • A group of predominantly interactive, electronically delivered training. IMI products include instructional software and software management tools used in support of instructional programs. IMI products are teaching and management tools and may be used in combination or individually. Used individually, not all IMI products can be considered interactive, multimedia, or instructional. However, IMI products, when used in combination with one another, are interactive, multimedia, and instructional. IMI technology is one of the primary technologies to be used in distance learning. 
IPT  Iron Pipe Thread (IPT)
  • A tapered thread standard that is used for connecting various sizes of rigid pipe. This standard may be referred to as tapered iron pipe thread (TIPT), National pipe thread (NPT), iron pipe thread (IPT), or iron pipe standard thread (IPS). With tapered thread, the threads and pipe sealant perform the seal at the connection. This is opposed to straight thread connectors which use a gasket to form the seal. 
JIC  Joint Information Center (JIC)
  • A facility established as the central point of contact for news media and interest parties to coordinate incident information activities at the scene of the incident. Public information officials from all participating federal, state, and local agencies should collocate at the JIC. 
JIS  Joint Information System (JIS)
  • A system that integrates incident information and public affairs into a cohesive organization designed to provide consistent, coordinated, timely information during crisis or incident operations. 
KBDI  Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
  • An estimate (0-800) of the amount of precipitation (in 100ths of inches) needed to bring the top 8 inches of soil back to saturation. A value of 0 is complete saturation of the soil, a value of 800 means 8.00 inches of precipitation would be needed for saturation. In the 1988 version of NFDRS, outputs of KBDI are used to adjust live and dead fuel loadings. 
L/RMP  Land/Resource Management Plan (L/RMP)
  • A document prepared with public participation and approved by an agency administrator that provides general guidance and direction for land and resource management activities for an administrative area. The L/RMP identifies the need for fire’s role in a particular area and for a specific benefit. The objectives in the L/RMP provide the basis for the development of fire management objectives and the fire management program in the designated area.  Source:  2009 Guidance for Implementation Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Fire Management Board Memorandum 19-004a.
LCMS  Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
  • Any system that keeps learner information, can launch and communicate with SCOs, and can interpret instructions that tell it which SCO comes next. 
LAL  Lightning Activity Level (LAL)
  • Part of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). A number, on a scale of 1 to 6, which reflects frequency and character of cloud-to-ground lightning (forecasted or observed). The scale for 1 to 5 is exponential, based on powers of 2 (i.e., LAL 3 indicates twice the lightning of LAL 2). LAL 6 is a special category for dry lightning and is closely equivalent to LAL 3 in strike frequency. 
LR  Lightning Risk (LR)
  • Part of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). A number related to the expected number of cloud-to-ground lightning strokes to which a protection unit is expected to be exposed during the rating period. The LR value used in the occurrence index includes an adjustment for lightning activity experienced during the previous day to account for possible holdover fires. 
LC  Liquid Concentrate (LC)
  • Liquid phosphate fertilizers used as fire retardants, usually diluted three to five times prior to application. 
LCES Lookout(s), Communication(s), Escape Route(s), and Safety Zone(s) (LCES) 
  • Elements of a safety system used by fire fighters to routinely assess their current situation with respect to wildland firefighting hazards. 
MMA  Maximum Manageable Area (MMA)
  • The maximum geographic limits of spread within which a wildland fire is allowed to spread. 
MSL  Mean Sea Level (MSL)
  • Average height of the surface of the sea for all stages of the tide over a 19-year period. NOTE: when the abbreviation MSL is used in conjunction with a number of feet, it implies altitude above sea level (e.g., 1000 feet MSL).  Source:
Micro-REMS  Micro-Remote Environmental Monitoring System (Micro-REMS)
  • Mobile weather monitoring station. Each unit consists of a shipping container, solar panel, battery, temperature/relative humidity sensor, wind mast, wind direction/speed sensor, data logger and radio. A Micro-REMS usually accompanies an incident meteorologist and ATMU to an incident. 
MOA  Military Operations Area (MOA)
  • Military Operations Area found on aeronautical charts. 
MIST  Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques (MIST)
  • The application of strategy and tactics that effectively meet suppression and resource objectives with the least environmental, cultural and social impacts. 
    • Also known as Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics
MAFFS  Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS)
  • A manufactured unit consisting of five interconnecting tanks, a control pallet, and a nozzle pallet, with a capacity of 3,000 gallons, designed to be rapidly mounted inside an unmodified C-130 (Hercules) cargo aircraft for use in cascading retardant chemicals on wildfires. 
MAC Group  Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (MAC Group)
  • A national, regional, or local management group for interagency planning, coordination, and operations leadership for incidents. Provides an essential management mechanism for strategic coordination to ensure incident resources are efficiently and appropriately managed in a cost effective manner. 
MAC  Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC)
  • A generalized term which describes the functions and activities of representatives of involved agencies and/or jurisdictions who come together to make decisions regarding the prioritizing of incidents, and the sharing and use of critical resources. The MAC organization is not a part of the on-scene ICS and is not involved in developing incident strategy or tactics. 
NAAQS  National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
  • A legal limit on the level of atmospheric contamination. The level is established as the concentration limits needed to protect all of the public against adverse effects on public health and welfare, with an adequate safety margin. Primary standards are those related to health effects. Secondary standards are designed to protect the public welfare from effects such as visibility reduction, soiling, material damage and nuisances. 
NFDRS  National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS)
  • A uniform fire danger rating system that focuses on the environmental factors that control the moisture content of fuels. 
NFPA  National Fire Protection Association Standards (NFPA)
  • Standards of the National Fire Protection Association are frequently adopted by insurance agencies such as the National Board of Fire Underwriters as a basis for their regulations and used as a guide for municipal, state, or provincial laws, ordinances, and regulations. 
NIFMID  National Interagency Fire Management Integrated Database (NIFMID)
  • The archive of daily weather observations from WIMS. 
NIIMS  National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS)
  • An NWCG developed program consisting of five subsystems which collectively provide a total systems approach to all-risk incident management. The subsystems are: The Incident Command System, Training, Qualifications and Certification, Supporting Technologies, and Publications Management. 
NPSH  National Pipe Straight Hose Thread (NPSH)
  • This is a straight (nontapered) thread standard with the same threads per inch as the appropriate size iron pipe thread. It requires a gasket to seal and is the thread standard used by most U.S. industry. Also known as National Pipe Straight Mechanical (NPSM) thread. 
NRL  National Resource Lands (NRL)
  • Public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. 
NH  National Standard Thread (NH)
  • Abbreviated (NH) for national hose. Specifically defined screw thread used on fire hose couplings. 
NVC  Net Value Change (NVC)
  • The sum of the changes in the value of natural resources affected by a fire. The basis for computing NVC is each resource's fire-induced value change (pluses and minuses) as computed and expressed on a per unit basis. 
NO2  Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • The result of nitric oxide combining with oxygen in the atmosphere. A major component of photochemical smog. 
NO  Nitrogen Oxide (NO)
  • Product of combustion from transportation and stationary sources and a major contributor to acid deposition and the formation of ground level ozone in the troposphere. 
NDVI  Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
  • A satellite observation-derived value that is sensitive to vegetative growth, measured at 1.1 km (0.6 mile) spatial and 1 week temporal scales. 
NOTAM  Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • Notice identified as either a NOTAM or Airmen Advisory containing information concerning the establishment, condition, or change in any component of, or hazard in, the National Airspace System, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations. 
OI  Occurrence Index (OI)
  • A number in the National Fire Danger Rating System related to potential fire incidence within a protection unit. 
ORV  Off-road Vehicle (ORV)
  • Any motorized vehicle designed for, or capable of, cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other terrain. 
1-h TL FM  One-hour Timelag Fuel Moisture (1-h TL FM)
  • Moisture content of one-hour timelag fuels. 
100-h TL FM  One-hundred Hour Timelag Fuel Moisture (100-h TL FM)
  • The moisture content of the 100-hour timelag fuels. 
1,000-h TL FM  One-thousand Hour Timelag Fuel Moisture (1,000-h TL FM)
  • The moisture content of the 1,000-hour timelag fuels. 
OCC  Operations Coordination Center (OCC)
  • Primary facility of the Multi-agency Coordination System (MACS); houses staff and equipment necessary to perform the MACS function. 
OD  Outside Diameter (OD)
  • External diameter of a cylinder or tube, conductor, or coupling as distinguished from the internal diameter. 
PPE  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • That equipment and clothing required to mitigate the risk of injury from or exposure to hazardous conditions encountered during the performance of duty. PPE includes but is not limited to: fire resistant clothing, hard hat, flight helmets, shroud, goggles, gloves, respirators, hearing protection, chainsaw chaps, and shelter. 
PIBAL  Pilot Balloon Operation (PIBAL)
  • A method of determining winds aloft by periodically reading the elevation and azimuth angles of a theodolite, usually at one-minute intervals, while tracking the ascent of a small free-lift balloon. A PIBAL is commonly used for constructing a wind profile. 
PSD  Plastic Sphere Dispenser (PSD)
  • Device installed, but jettisonable, in a helicopter, which injects glycol into a plastic sphere containing potassium permanganate, which is then expelled from the machine and aircraft. This produces an exothermic reaction resulting in ignition of fuels on the ground for prescribed or wildland fire applications. 
PM10  PM10
  • Particulate matter of mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) less than or equal to 10 micrometers. 
PM2.5  PM2.5
  • Particulate matter of mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers. 
PTB  Position Task Book (PTB)
  • A document listing the performance requirements (competencies and behaviors) for a position in a format that allows for the evaluation of individual (trainee) performance to determine if an individual is qualified in the position. Successful performance of PTB tasks, as observed and recorded by a qualified evaluator, will result in a recommendation to the trainee's home unit that the individual be certified in the position. 
PSI  Pounds per Square Inch (PSI)
  • Measurement of pressure (e.g., pump pressure, nozzle pressure, friction loss in hose, pressure loss or gain due to elevation). 
PAR  Precision Approach Radar (PAR)
  • Blind landing in which the aircraft is observed from the ground by means of radar and directed along a suitable glide path by instructions radioed to the pilot. 
PSD  Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)
  • A program identified by the Clean Air Act to prevent air quality and visibility degradation and to remedy existing visibility problems. Areas of the country are grouped into 3 classes which are allowed certain degrees of pollution depending on their uses. National Parks and Wilderness Areas meeting certain criteria are "Class I" or "clean area" in that they have the smallest allowable increment of degradation. 
PAL  Project Activity Level (PAL)
  • An application of fire danger rating to support regulation of contractors involved in land management activities for fire prevention purposes in California. 
RACM  Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM)
  • Control measures developed by EPA which apply to residential wood combustion, fugitive dust, and prescribed and silvicultural burning in and around "moderate" PM-10 non-attainment areas. RACM is designed to bring an area back into attainment and uses a smoke management program which relies on weather forecasts for burn/no-burn days. 
RECON  Reconnaissance (RECON)
  • To examine a fire area to obtain information about current and probable fire behavior and other related fire suppression information. 
RG  Relative Greenness (RG)
  • An NDVI-derived image of vegetation greenness compared to how green it has been historically.
RH  Relative Humidity (RH)
  • The ratio of the amount of moisture in the air, to the maximum amount of moisture that air would contain if it were saturated. The ratio of the actual vapor pressure to the saturated vapor pressure.  Source:
RAWS  Remote Automatic Weather Station (RAWS)
  • A weather station that transmits weather observations via GOES satellite to the Wildland Fire Management Information system. 
ROSS  Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS)
  • A national system that provides automated support to interagency and agency dispatch and coordination offices. The system will provide current status of resources available to support all-risk activities; enable dispatch offices to exchange and track resource ordering information electronically; enable dispatch offices to rapidly and reliably exchange mission-critical emergency electronic messages. 
SIMWYE  Reversible Siamese (SIMWYE)
  • Hose fitting that performs the functions of a Siamese or a wye (i.e., to combine the flow from two lines into a single line or to permit two lines to be taken from a single line).
RM  Risk Management (RM)
  • A continuous, five-step process that provides a systematic method for identifying and managing the risks associated with any operation. 
RFD  Rural Fire District (RFD)
  • An organization established to provide fire protection to a designated geographic area outside of areas under municipal fire protection. Usually has some taxing authority and officials may be appointed or elected. 
  • A form and process, used by wildland firefighting agencies, for reporting and resolving incidents relating to firefighter safety. The information collected is used to determine long-term trends and problem areas within the wildland fire industry. 
STEX  Sand Table Exercise (STEX)
  • A tactical decision game that employs a three-dimensional terrain model made from sand and various props to provide a visual representation of the situation described in the tactical decision game. 
SOFE  Second Order Fire Effects (SOFE)
  • The secondary effects of fire such as tree regeneration, plant succession, and changes in site productivity. Although second order fire effects are dependent, in part, on first order fire effects, they also involve interaction with many other non-fire variables. 
SCBA  Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
  • Portable air (not oxygen) tanks with regulators which allow firefighters to breathe while in toxic smoke conditions. Usually rated for 30 minutes of service. Used primarily on fires involving structures or hazardous materials. 
SAIT  Serious Accident Investigation Team (SAIT)
  • A formal investigation team that is organized with the purpose of conducting an accident investigation for an occurred serious accident. The team is given full authorization to conduct the investigation from involved agencies through letter of delegation. 
SCO  Shareable Content Object (SCO)
SCORM  Shareable Content Object Re-usable Model (SCORM)
  • A specification for standardizing the reusability and interoperability of learning content. SCORM has been developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative (ADL). SCORM focuses on two critical pieces of learning content interoperability:
    • It defines an aggregation model for packaging learning content.
    • ​It defines an API for enabling communications between learning content and the system that launches it. 
STOL Aircraft  Short Takeoff or Landing (STOL) Aircraft
  • An aircraft which has the capability of operating from a STOL runway in accordance with applicable airworthiness and operating regulations. 
STOL Airstrip  Short Takeoff or Landing (STOL) Airstrip
  • Developed or undeveloped area that has been tested and will accommodate STOL aircraft. 
SA  Situation Awareness (SA)
  • An on-going process of gathering information by observation and by communication with others. This information is integrated to create an individual's perception of a given situation. 
SA  Situational Awareness (SA)
  • An on-going process of gathering information by observation and by communication with others. This information is integrated to create an individual's perception of a given situation.
SSA  Smoke Sensitive Area (SSA)
  • Area in which smoke from outside sources is intolerable, for reasons such as heavy population, existing air pollution, or intensive recreation or tourist use. 
SIG  Special Interest Group (SIG)
  • In WIMS, a group of weather stations. 
VFR  Special Visual Flight Rules (VFR)
  • Aircraft operating in accordance with clearances within control zones in weather conditions less than the basic Visual Flight Rules weather minima. 
SOA Specific Origin Area (SOA)
  • The smaller area within the general origin area where the fire's direction of spread was first influenced by fuel, weather, and/or topography. Source: Guide to Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination, PMS 412.
    • Definition Extension: The SOA will contain the Ignition Area. Generally this area is characterized by subtle and microscale fire pattern indicators as a result of less intense burning associated with the initial stages of the fire.
SHEF  Standard Hydrologic Exchange Format code (SHEF)
  • A two-character code to describe each measurement taken at a weather station. 
SOP  Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
  • Specific instructions clearly spelling out what is expected of an individual every time they perform a given task. A standard operating procedure can be used as a performance standard for tasks that are routinely done in the operational environment. 
SOP  Standard Operational Procedure (SOP)
  • Specific instructions clearly spelling out what is expected of an individual every time they perform a given task. A standard operational procedure can be used as a performance standard for tasks that are routinely done in the operational environment. 
TDGS  Tactical Decision Game (TDGS)
  • A simple role-play simulation technique that challenges participants to make decisions and communicate those decisions to others. A tactical decision game is an experiential learning method that is tactical in nature and has time and information constraints to put participants under some level of stress.
10-h TL FM  Ten-hour Timelag Fuel Moisture (10-h TL FM)
  • The moisture content of the l0-hour timelag roundwood fuels. 
TL  Timelag (TL)
  • Time needed under specified conditions for a fuel particle to lose about 63 percent of the difference between its initial moisture content and its equilibrium moisture content. If conditions remain unchanged, a fuel will reach 95 percent of its equilibrium moisture content after 4 timelag periods. 
TSP  Total Suspended Particulate Matter (TSP)
  • Particles emitted from a pollution source regardless of size. Federal and state ambient and emission standards exist for TSP. 
UHF-FM  Ultra High Frequency (UHF-FM)
  • Radio frequencies from 300 Megahertz (MHz) to 3,000 MHz with a normal range of less than 50 miles. Radio frequency common to military aircraft and used in the logistics radio system. The most common frequencies used by fire and public safety are from 406 MHz to 512 MHz. 
VHF-AM  Very High Frequency (VHF-AM)
  • Radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 299 MHz. The sub-bands most commonly used by fire are:
    • VHF-FM Lo band: Frequency Modulation 30 MHz - 80 MHz, of which fire frequencies are between 30 MHz and 50 MHz.
    • VHF-FM Hi band: Frequency Modulation 150 MHz - 174 MHz. This is the most widely used band by fire agencies.
    • VHF-AM: Amplitude Modulation. This band is commonly referred to as the "Victor or VHF" band. The frequency range is from 118 MHz to 136 MHz. The only authorized use of this band is for aviation. The FAA controls and assigns all frequencies within this sub-band. 
VOR  VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR)
  • System of radio navigation in which any magnetic bearing relative to a special radio transmitter on the ground may be chosen and flown by an aircraft pilot. 
VFR  Visual Flight Rules Conditions (VFR)
  • Basic weather conditions prescribed for flight under Visual Flight Rules: ceiling above 1,000 feet (300 m) and flight visibility in excess of 3 miles (5 km). 
VG  Visual Greenness (VG)
  • An NDVI-derived image of vegetation greenness compared to a very green reference such as a golf course. 
VRM  Visual Resource Management (VRM)
  • The inventory and planning actions taken to identify visual values and to establish objectives for managing those values; and the management actions taken to achieve the visual management objectives. 
VFD  Volunteer Fire Department (VFD)
  • A fire department of which some or all members are unpaid. 
WEPS  Water Expansion Pumping System (WEPS)
  • Apparatus utilizing an air compressor and positive displacement pump coupled to the same engine, plumbed to a non-pressurized tank, for producing foam. The operation involves injecting compressed air into a liquid stream containing a suitable foaming agent. 
WES  Water Expansion System (WES)
  • Apparatus utilizing a pressurized tank, hose, and nozzle for producing foam by injection of compressed air or gas into a liquid stream downstream from the pumping source. The liquid stream must contain a suitable foaming agent. 
WIMS  Weather Information Management System (WIMS)
  • A centralized weather data processing system at which daily fire danger ratings are produced. 
WFAS  Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS)
  • An internet-based information system, providing national views of weather and fire potential, including national fire danger and weather maps and satellite-derived greenness maps. 
WFMI  Wildland Fire Management Information (WFMI)
  • A web site providing current weather and lightning data, as well as historic fire occurrence data. NWCG Unit Identifiers are also maintained on the site. 
WUI  Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
WCT  Work Capacity Test (WCT)
  • The Work Capacity Test (WCT) is a test to ensure a person is physically capable of meeting the minimum fitness requirement associated with assigned wildfire or prescribed fire duties as described in the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications, PMS 310-1.  Below are the three defined duty levels with examples of associated essential functions:  
    • Arduous
      • Arduous duty field work requires above-average endurance and superior conditioning.  Duties may include an occasional demand for extraordinarily strenuous activity in emergency situations under adverse environmental conditions over extended periods. The pace of work typically is set by the emergency condition.  Essential functions include, but are not limited to: running, walking or hiking, climbing, jumping, twisting, bending, lifting more than 50 pounds, and carrying 45 pounds or more for extended periods over difficult terrain. 
    • Moderate
      • Moderate duty field work requires the average endurance and conditioning of an individual who possesses complete control of all their physical faculties. Occasional demands may be required for moderately strenuous activities in emergencies over long periods. The pace of work is usually set by the current environmental conditions.  Essential functions include, but are not limited to: considerable walking over irregular ground, standing for long periods, lifting 25 to 50 pounds, climbing, bending, stooping, squatting, twisting, and reaching.
    • Light
      • Light duty mainly involves office-type work with occasional field activity characterized by light physical exertion requiring basic good health.  Individuals almost always can govern the extent and pace of their physical activity.  Essential functions include, but are not limited to: climbing stairs, standing, operating a vehicle, and long hours of work, as well as some bending, stooping, or light lifting.
  • The WCT consists of three separate levels of tests which correspond with the three duty types.  The tests are defined as follows:

    • Pack Test - This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of arduous duty.  It consists of completing a 3-mile walk over level terrain in 45 minutes or less while carrying a 45-pound pack.  
    • Field Test – This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of moderate duty. It consists of completing a 2-mile walk over level terrain in 30 minutes or less while carrying a 25-pound pack.
    • Walk Test – This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of light duty.  The test consists of completing a 1-mile walk over level terrain in 16 minutes or less with no load.
  • For more information about the Work Capacity Test consult the Work Capacity Test Administrator’s Guide, PMS 307.
6MFS Six Minutes for Safety (6MFS)
  • A daily safety briefing for wildland fire that focuses on high risk events found within a firefighter's scope of work that are performed on an infrequent basis. Also know as 6 Minutes for Safety.  View the Six Minutes for Safety website at
AR Administrative Representative (AR)
  • Individual responsible for incident agency business management functions, such as personnel, procurement, fiscal, etc.
BAER Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team
  • BAER teams are formed to analyze post-fire conditions and to take immediate emergency stabilization action to prevent loss of life and property and critical and natural resources. It is the Agency Administrator’s responsibility to order or designate a BAER Team.
CO Contracting Officer (CO)
  • Agency personnel with specific delegation of procurement authority, also known as warranted Contracting Officer.
COTR/COR Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) / Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR)
  • An individual designated by the Contracting Officer to provide technical support for the contract within specific authority and limitations as specified in the delegation. The COTR/COR must be agency certified.
EERA Emergency Equipment Rental Agreement (EERA)
  • An agreement written at an incident using an EERA, OF-294. The duration is for the length of the incident only.
ESF Emergency Support Function (ESF)
  • Groupings of governmental and certain private sector capabilities and functions into an organizational structure to provide support, resources, program implementation, and services that are most likely needed to support disaster response operations.
FCO Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO)
  • The person appointed by the President to coordinate federal assistance in the designated area following the declaration of a major disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act.
HIZ Home Ignition Zone (HIZ)
  • The area where the factors that principally determine home ignition potential during extreme wildfire behavior (high fire intensities and burning embers) are present. The characteristics of a home and its immediate surroundings within 100 feet comprise the HIZ.
IBPA Incident Blanket Purchase Agreement (IBPA)
  • A pre-season agreement for equipment, supplies, or services to be used on fire and all-hazards incidents, issued on a Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items, SF-1449 form. I-BPAs are awarded on a competitive basis using commercial item procedures.
IADS Interagency Authoritative Data Source (IADS)
  • A product, tool, or IT application that has been designated as the trusted source for wildland fire data. This source may also create and update transactional data for use in other applications. There may be more than one IADS and it can change depending on business process complexity and life cycle. An IADS may be a compilation or subset of data from other authoritative sources. The DLM process ensures sources, limitations, currency, and attributes for the IADS are documented.
ISOR Interagency System of Record (ISOR)
  • Agencies and bureaus may have their own SOR for their data. An ISORs are identified by an interagency business area as the official application source of interagency data. An ISOR is the source that resolves duplicate records that may arise from various IADSs and ensures the data meets defined quality standards before it is included in official historical data sets. An ISOR can be an external source of data used by wildland fire.
UOP Unified Ordering Point (UOP)
  • Single location through which all incident resource orders are processed.
EPE Estimated Position Error (EPE)
MIST Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics
  • See Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques
IA Ignition Area (IA)
  • The smallest area that a wildland fire investigator can define based on the physical evidence of the fire pattern indicators, within the specific origin area, in which a competent ignition source came into contact with the first fuel ignited and combustion was sustained. Source: Guide to Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination, PMS 412.
SIF Smoke-Induced Fog (SIF)
  • A dense fog (water droplets suspended in the atmosphere) that forms away from a fire site when surface smoke comprised of increased fine particulates and water vapor, combines with ambient air that is already prone to natural fog formation.
    • Definition Extension: Under these conditions, smoke serves as a catalyst and induces surface fog formation, reducing visibility to a greater extent than smoke or fog individually. Smoke can induce fog in two ways.
      1. Surface smoke contains additional water which is a byproduct of combustion. This excess water can induce fog or if present increase the density of existing fog.
      2. Smoke contains particulate matter which may serve as condensation nuclei thus increasing the number of smaller fog droplets in smoke.
      In either case, SIF reduces visibility beyond that of the separate individual impacts of smoke or fog. SIF can occur anywhere within surface smoke plume but will usually be found in low-lying areas and drainages where ambient conditions most likely favor fog formation. Fog has formed when observed relative humidity is under 100% and thus, it forms more easily in the presence of smoke. SIF is also most likely to be found late at night or early in the morning when ambient conditions most likely favor fog formation.