National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Incident Performance and Training Modernization

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The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) is embarking on a transformative journey to modernize wildland fire incident position management through the development of a performance-based training system. This improved system will develop a Performance Support Package which includes Incident Position Standards, a Next Generation Position Task Book, essential training when needed, and relevant job aids. These tools will support trainees, those qualified in the position, and evaluators. The outcome of this effort is to develop professional wildland firefighters, build a sustainable workforce, and create effective performance-based training that can be updated and maintained more efficiently. NWCG intends to analyze over 130 incident positions in the next 5 years.

NWCG is modernizing its training development system as part of the larger Systems Improvement effort, intended to support NWCG’s core mission of enabling interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial partners. The Incident Performance and Training Modernization (IPTM) effort is a key element of Systems Improvement and is comprised of three components:

  • Incident position management
  • Next Generation Position Task Books (Next Gen PTBs)
  • Performance-based training-moving to as much on the job training as possible

In 2022, NWCG received funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to support the IPTM effort. Providing effective training to firefighters and support personnel is critical, and as such, IPTM is a national effort and a top priority of the NWCG Executive Board.

In 2023, NWCG began work on multiple positions. In the following years, NWCG will increase the number of positions worked on until completing all 130 positions in the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications, PMS 310-1.



Goals of IPTM

  • Develop an integrated performance-based training system that is easier to update and maintain.
  • Move as much training as appropriate to on-the-job through the support of Incident Position Standards and Next Gen PTBs.
  • Ensure incident position specific training is necessary and relevant, reducing current redundancies.
  • Build Performance Support Packages and qualifications from Incident Position Standards to better support trainees, evaluators, and qualified individuals.
  • Modernize training materials and operational tools.


Components of IPTM

The IPTM effort focuses on the positions in the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications, PMS 310-1. Along with day job knowledge and individual skills, professional wildland firefighters critically need clearly defined Incident Position Standards and training. As NWCG analyzes each position through the IPTM process, it will create a Performance Support Package. The Performance Support Package will include the Incident Position Description, Incident Position Standards, a Next Gen PTB, and any related training materials or other supporting products. Under this new system, the field will have the ability to easily notify NWCG when material is out of sync.

Performance Support Package

Incident Position Descriptions

Essential duties and responsibilities for each position are identified to develop Incident Position Descriptions. The Incident Position Description is the baseline for the Performance Support Package, describing what a position does on an incident.

Incident Position Standards

Incident Position Standards are the “how to” for each position and guide how a position performs on an incident. Incident Position Standards promote safe, efficient, and effective operations in support of agency goals and objectives and should serve as a guide to encourage consistent and successful on-the-job training.

Next Generation Position Task Books

The format of Position Task Books is being updated in the Next Gen PTBs. These Next Gen PTBs will establish a direct correlation with Incident Position Standards and Incident Position Descriptions. This connection aims to enhance alignment between Incident Position Standards, position qualification requirements, and the PTB, ultimately providing improved support for optimal performance in the position. In addition, Next Gen PTBs will allow evaluators to provide more constructive feedback on performance, to better support trainees, and to ensure that PTBs are effective training and evaluation tools. The Next Gen PTBs will work within a system that supports responsive changes in position duties.

Performance-Based Training

The performance-based training approach is centered on preparing individuals to effectively perform specific tasks or job functions. It aims to cultivate practical skills and competencies through moving as much learning to on-the-job training.  When formalized training is necessary, a performance-based learning approach will be used, such as simulations or scenarios. 

IPTM Timeline

Following positions are complete:

  • Crew Boss (CRWB)

  • Prescribed Fire Burn Boss (RXB2)

NWCG is currently working on the following positions:

  • Engine Boss (ENGB)
  • Equipment Time Recorder (EQTR)
  • Felling Boss (FELB)
  • Firefighter Type 1 (FFT1)
  • Firing Boss (FIRB)
  • Helicopter Crewmember (HECM)
  • Incident Commander Type 5 (ICT5)
  • Personal Time Recorder (PTRC)
  • Safety Officer, Field (SOFF) – proposed new NWCG position
  • Status/Check-In (SCKN)
  • Aircraft Base Radio Operator (ABRO)
  • Aircraft Dispatcher (ACDP)
  • Archeologist (ARCH)
  • Demobilization Unit Leader (DMOB)
  • Documentation Unit Leader (DOCL)
  • Engine Boss (ENGB)
  • Equipment Time Recorder (EQTR)
  • Expanded Dispatch Coordinator (CORD)
  • Expanded Dispatch Supervisory Dispatcher (EDSP)
  • Faller 1/2/3 (FAL1/2/3)
  • Felling Boss (FELB)
  • Firefighter 1 (FFT1)
  • Firing Boss (FIRB)
  • Fixed Wing Parking Tender (FWPT)
  • Helicopter Crewmember (HECM)
  • Incident Commander Type 5 (ICT5)
  • Initial Attack Dispatcher (IADP)
  • Medical Unit Leader (MEDL) – in final review
  • Personnel Time Recorder (PTRC)
  • Public Information Officer, Type 3 (PIO3) – new NWCG position
  • Public Information Officer, Technician (PIOT)
  • Resource Advisor Guide (REAC) – new NWCG position
  • Resource Advisor (READ) – new NWCG position
  • Resource Advisor, Fireline Qualified (REAF) – new NWCG position
  • Resource Unit Leader (RESL)
  • Safety Officer, Field (SOFF) – new NWCG position
  • Status/Check-In (SCKN)

Subject Matter Experts

Creating incident position standards and training that is relevant and specific to each position requires subject matter experts (SMEs) with recent experience working in the position. Engaged SMEs are key to success of the IPTM effort. They will work directly with NWCG Training staff to develop the performance support packages for each position, to include incident position standards, Next Gen PTBs, and any training material or products necessary to support the position. The input of SMEs with current knowledge of each position is critical to ensuring the performance support packages are useful and relevant.

Frequently Asked Questions

SMEs will be chosen by the Committee responsible for the position being worked on, with an emphasis on diversity of geographic regions, agencies, experience, and other factors. SMEs are expected to be fully qualified and have been assigned as or directly supervised the position within the last three years.

Be able to commit up to 20 hours per month, with more work during the first 4 – 6 weeks of the project. There will be material to review and the expectation to provide feedback even during fire season – it is imperative that SMEs are able to provide feedback in a timely manner (within two weeks of the request) during fire season. There is the potential for one week of in-person travel at the kick-off stage of each position. The estimated duration of work on each position is one year.

NWCG is currently working on 29 positions, the number will increase in the following years. The goal is to complete all 130 positions within 5 years. NWCG is generally addressing positions in a foundational order, emphasizing a bottom-up approach. 

If you are a trainee, evaluator, training officer, etc. with questions about a Next Generation PTB you can contact NWCG Training.

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