Advanced Faller

FAL1 decorative banner: photos depicting FAL1 position.

fal1 Homepage Button Position Incident Position Description Button Position Reference Materials Button Position Qualification Requirements Button

FAL1 Advanced Faller Incident Position Description

The Advanced Faller (FAL1) may serve as a single resource or as a member of a firefighting crew or module. The FAL1 has multiple years of experience and has demonstrated proficiency in performing high complexity saw operations, including tree felling, bucking, brushing, and limbing. A FAL1 serving as a single resource reports to a Felling Boss (FELB), Strike Team/Task Force Leader (TFLD), or other assigned supervisor. The FAL1 works in the Operations functional area.​
Click here to comment on this IPD

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Remain mentally and physically fit.
  • Ensure individual and equipment readiness:
    • Fully functional and maintained chainsaw
    • Saw chaps
    • 3 to 5-pound axe
    • Wedges
    • Bar wrench/files/raker gauge
    • Saw kit
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Travel to and check in at the assignment. Notify incident supervisor and/or dispatch when arriving at the incident.
  • Obtain initial briefing from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Model leadership values and principles. Provide a positive influence and engage in the mentorship of others.
  • Participate in the development of saw related objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations of saw team members.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions as a single resource.

Perform Advanced Faller-Specific Duties

  • Mitigate hazards and perform highly complex felling and bucking operations in a variety of conditions with proficiency, i.e., fireline construction, felling, brushing, thinning, bucking, and limbing.
  • Identify elements of complexity that are not readily perceived but gained through personal experiences. These may include specific species hazards and seasonality considerations affecting a cut plan.
  • Employ advanced knowledge of fireline construction and hazard tree felling/bucking.
  • Develop and follow safe working distances and communication practices when utilizing a swamper during complex saw operations.
  • Develop safe working condition guidelines to manage highly complex cutting operations when options are limited: turn down any unsafe assignment.
  • Demonstrate proficiency when performing chainsaw mechanical troubleshooting and maintenance during field conditions.  
  • Participate in the training and mentoring of FAL2 and FAL3 to pass along knowledge and experience.
  • Identify, communicate, and report any unsafe conditions or trees that present a particularly hazardous condition; communicate mitigation options to a supervisor.
    • Safely and efficiently mitigate the following conditions:
    • Fire-weakened or rotten trees.
    • Hung up trees.
    • Trees that are felled against their natural lean with a significant crown or unevenly distributed weight.
    • Trees with more than 5’ of side or back lean.
    • Trees that need to be felled within five degrees of a specific lay due to objects such as roads, culverts, etc.
    • Falling snags with broken out tops.
    • Trees that require more than 2” of lift to overcome the back lean.
    • Limited or restricted escape path options.
    • Double cuts greater than 1½ times the bar length or tree diameter is greater than two times the bar length.
    • Cutting situations that have expected high releases of energy.
    • Multiple complex binds that are present during bucking operations (i.e., blowdown, jackstrewn, or storm damage events).
    • Bucking with significant side bound logs.
    • Bucking on steep slopes.
    • High release of energy.

Common Sawyer Duties

  • Participate in saw operation area briefings, coordinate with crew members, saw teams, and adjoining resources in the work area.
  • Operate within current certification and qualification level, except during formal evaluation proceedings or under the immediate supervision of a higher qualified sawyer.
  • Adhere to all established safety procedures for chain saw operations.
  • Establish and maintain cutting area control. Ensure 2 ½ tree lengths distance from other personnel when felling and that all work areas are clear.
  • Perform individual tree size-up before engaging in any saw operation that includes analyzing hazards, defects, lean(s), determining lay of the tree, description of escape routes, and cut plan. If applicable, wildlife and urban interface considerations must be addressed.
  • Fuel chainsaw before starting any cuts and have wedging tools readily available when felling hazard trees.
  • Conduct warning shout (Falling!) every time before a backcut is started, and again when the tree begins to commit to the lay.
  • Cut and remove fuels to reduce fuel continuity to lower the threat of fire spread and reduce exposure to improved properties.
  • Complete a bucking assessment before bucking and select a good position for safe bucking.
  • Buck and scatter burning material for mopup.
  • Cut material to a size that is moveable by hand.
  • Adhere to established safe fueling procedures to mitigate the risk of fuel geysering.
  • Adhere to safety procedures for foot travel and transporting saw, fuel, personnel, and equipment.
  • Continually strive to improve; learn from others and develop a safe attitude and habits.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Before engaging, receive a thorough briefing from the appropriate supervisor addressing all saw operation specifications and associated expectations.
  • Establish positive communication with swampers, crew, adjoining resources, and supervisor.
  • Report any changes in operational complexity to the appropriate supervisor.
  • Participate as appropriate in briefings and After Action Reviews (AARs).

Manage Risk

  • Operate within your skill level and turn down any saw operation you feel is unsafe or when the complexity is higher than your certification or ability.
  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) PMS 461:
    • Identify Hazards
    • Assess Hazards
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions
    • Implement Controls
  • Know when to ask for assistance and how to refuse unsafe work.
  • Comply with all safety practices and established standard chainsaw operating procedures.
  • Apply Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) to all saw operations.
  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure you are prepared to execute the Medical Plan (ICS 206 WF). Ensure familiarity with medical responders, communication procedures, and the transportation plan. Manage the medical emergency based on procedures stated in the Incident Action Plan (IAP), Medical Incident Report, or other relevant guidelines.
  • Identify and safely mitigate hazards inherent with wildland urban interface (WUI) during chain saw operations.
  • Ensure hazard trees are identified, communicated, and avoided until they are mitigated. This includes snags, hung up, and lodged trees.
    • If the hazard tree is not felled or removed, it shall be flagged, and no work shall be conducted within two tree lengths.
  • Report all accidents, injuries, or near misses to supervisor.
  • Use and maintain all required chainsaw Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), saw safety features and accompanying tools.



  • Return equipment and supplies to appropriate units.
  • Complete demobilization checkout process before being released from the incident.
  • Upon demobilization, report status to the home unit including reassignment or estimated time of arrival (ETA) to the home unit.


Return to the top


Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 

Please Provide Feedback

NWCG values your constructive input and we thank you for taking the time to provide feedback.

Although contact information is optional, we hope that you provide a way for us to contact you in case we need clarification on your comment. If you would like to be contacted regarding your feedback, you must provide contact information. 

Due to recent hacking behavior, we are temporarily suspending our ability to upload documents.  If you need to attach additional information, please email the file to

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.