NWCG Systems Improvement

Improvement of NWCG systems components is an ongoing effort intended to support the core mission - enabling interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners. Current improvement efforts include:

photo of 2 firefighters climbing a hillWebsite

  • Increase visibility of and access to NWCG materials.
  • Convert publications to web portals as appropriate.
  • Consolidate information and reduce redundancy and discrepancy across website.
  • Create and/or redesign position pages, training course catalog, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) pages.


Firefighters walking up a hill with tools. Decorative.Position Management

Wildland fire personnel throughout the nation mobilize by NWCG position under NIMS-ICS principles. This enables consistent and uniform position performance in support of nationally interoperable wildland fire operations. Improved position management will strengthen that connection and improve our ability to successfully teach, train, and operate to accurate position-related standards. Improvement efforts include developing incident position descriptions, ensuring they have and are aligned with operational standards, and establishing a systematic process to identify performance support and training needs for each position. Position pages have been developed for each NWCG position. Position pages provide the single authoritative source for:

  • Incident Position Descriptions
  • Position reference materials
  • Position qualification requirements
  • Position training and performance support materials

Position pages are located here: https://www.nwcg.gov/positions.

Incident Position Descriptions (IPDs)

  • Provide the single authoritative source for the essential duties and responsibilities for each NWCG position.
  • Ensure connection between the position and established operational standards.
  • Build consistency (organization, nomenclature, terminology) internal to each position and across the inventory of positions.
  • Prevent unnecessary duplication of duties across positions.
  • Help identify performance support needs such as job aids, training courses, and position task books.

Incident Position Description (IPD) Management

  • IPDs are derived from source documents that establish operational standards, best management practices, requirements, duties, and responsibilities. As these standards evolve, so should the IPD.
  • As with the source materials they are derived from, IPD management is assigned to a single NWCG committee/subgroup. The assigned committee/subgroup is responsible for collaborating with other committees that have a stake in the position. See incident position responsibilities.
  • Conflict and/or authority hierarchy between source documents may be identified as IPDs are developed and updated. The responsible committee/subgroup should address such issues.
    • With the development of IPDs, position duties, responsibilities, and roles are removed from existing publications to:
      • ensure consistency by position and throughout the system as a whole.
      • create coherency and uniformity across functional areas and intersecting responsibilities.
      • reduce redundancy and remove contradictions by recognizing the IPD as the authoritative source.
  • System-wide standardization of concepts and nomenclature across all IPDs is the collective responsibility of:
  • Learn more about the NWCG Standards Management Cycle.

Training Design Process

The training design process is intended to:

  • Systematically identify training and performance support needs for each incident position.
  • Identify areas across multiple positions where knowledge, skills, and abilities overlap.
  • Create position-specific plans that identify performance support needs such as job aids, amount and type of training, position task books, and other support materials.
  • Enable training and performance support content to be developed and/or revised at the same pace as evolving operational and position standards.

Training Materials

  • Make all materials fully accessible according to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Make all training and performance support content freely available from the website so it is fully interconnected, easily accessible, and can readily serve as reference material. This includes:
    • standards documents
    • incident position descriptions
    • training presentations and supporting materials
    • job-aids
    • forms and checklists
    • position task books
    • how-to videos
  • Post training courses in the training catalog using the NWCG course page template to ensure consistency, branding, and ease of use.
    • For PowerPoint materials use the NWCG standard template to eliminate duplication and conflict between slide content and instructor notes and to ensure training content is available for current and future reference.
    • In transition, instructor guides will be developed by exporting the notes from the PowerPoint.  Eventually, PowerPoint presentation program will be the sole instructor guide, containing both presentation material and instructor notes.
  • Use NWCG standards publications as "student workbooks" to eliminate redundancy and conflict, and to train to established standards.
  • NWCG Training Material Templates:

Position Task Books (PTBs)

NWCG Position Task Book improvement efforts are intended to:

  • Improve connectivity between established operational standards, the Incident Position Description, and the PTB.
  • Ensure that PTBs are effective training/evaluation tools.
  • Eliminate unnecessary roadblocks to qualification.
  • Accelerate revision cycles to respond to changes in position duties.
  • Remove unnecessary redundancy.
  • Combine PTBs where possible.

NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP)

The NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP), currently under development, is a learning management system (LMS) intended to enable training providers and users to manage and track training information, including:

  • Training schedules
  • Student nominations and registration
  • Self-directed (online) training courses
  • Pre-course work for instructor-led (classroom) training courses
  • Simulations, exams, and other instructor-specific materials
  • Local enhancements as per NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1
  • Student assessment and performance tracking

The WFLP will initially be deployed in a development mode until standards of practice are  developed and minimum requirements for training and access are established. Then, a training and deployment plan will be established and implemented. Once fully functional, the WFLP will be integrated into the NWCG standards management cycle and deployed in a production mode.

Non-NWCG Positions

Non-NWCG positions, including those found in the Federal Wildland Fire Qualifications Supplement are not being evaluated due to:

  • Prioritization of internal work.
    • There are 126 NWCG positions.  The Federal Wildland Fire Qualifications Supplement would add 117 additional positions to the process. 
  • Constraints of oversight to positions.
    • NWCG does not establish or facilitate the development of the standards, training, publications, and support materials associated with these positions.
  • Lack of existing standards for most positions.




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