Intermediate Faller

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FAL2 Intermediate Faller Incident Position Description

The Intermediate Faller (FAL2) may serve as a single resource or as a member of a firefighting crew or module. The FAL2 engages in moderate complexity fireline saw operations, including tree felling, bucking, brushing, and limbing. A FAL2 serving as part of a module, reports to a Firefighter Type 1 (FFT1) or one of the Single Resource Bosses (FELB, CRWB, ENGB, FIRB, HMGB). A FAL2 serving as a single resource reports to a Felling Boss (FELB), Strike Team/Task Force Leader (TFLD),or other assigned supervisor. The FAL2 works in the Operations functional area.​
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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. Emphasize teamwork and willingness to learn.
  • Participates in the development of saw related objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations of saw team members.

Perform Intermediate Faller-Specific Duties

  • Mitigate hazards and perform moderately complex felling and bucking operations in a variety of conditions with proficiency, i.e., fireline construction, felling, brushing, thinning, bucking, and limbing.
  • Determine obvious signs of complexity during most saw operation assignments and verbalize the various elements during a size-up and complexity analysis.
  • Employ knowledge of fireline construction and hazard tree felling/bucking.
  • Conduct saw operation area briefings with crew saw teams.
  • Develop and follow safe working distances and communication practices when utilizing a swamper during complex saw operations.
  • Follow safe working condition guidelines for crew saw operations.
  • Perform most chain saw mechanical troubleshooting and maintenance during field conditions with some proficiency. Identify mechanical conditions that require professional repair.
  • Remain open to feedback and continued mentoring by FAL1. Participate in the training and mentoring of FAL3s.
  • Identify, communicate, and report any unsafe conditions or trees that present a particularly hazardous condition.
  • Safely and efficiently mitigate the following conditions:
    • Partially rotten or compromised fiber.
    • Fall tree within 45 degrees of specific lay.
    • Buck logs on slopes.
    • Trees felled with less than3 to 5’ of side lean.
    • Trees that need 1 to 2" of lift to overcome the back lean.
    • One or two escape paths available - safe cover less than10’ from base of tree.
    • Double cuts just greater than 1 bar length.
    • Bucking where the release of energy is known but may require a series of cuts.
    • Bucking logs with minimal side bind.
    • Moderate to 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!) 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.
  • Cuts 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 in operational 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 agency 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 alternatives and solutions for situations that exceed faller’s skill level.
  • Identify and safely mitigate hazards inherent with wildland urban interface (WUI) during chain saw operations.
  • Consult immediate supervisor when unfamiliar or unusually hazardous conditions exist and seek supervisor's approval before cutting is commenced.
  • 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 home the unit including reassignment or estimated time of arrival (ETA) to the home unit.


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