National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Basic Faller

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FAL3 Basic Faller Incident Position Description

The Basic Faller (FAL3) is an entry-level chainsaw operator that serves as a member of a firefighting crew or module. The FAL3 engages in low complexity fireline saw operations, including tree felling, bucking, brushing, and limbing, and should be closely supervised during operations. A FAL3 may perform FAL2 tasks under the direct supervisor of a FAL2. The FAL3 reports to an Intermediate (FAL2) or Advanced (FAL1) Faller, a Firefighter Type 1 (FFT1), or one of the Single Resource Bosses (FELB, Crew Boss, Single Resource [CRWB], Engine Boss, Single Resource [ENGB], Firing Boss, Single Resource [FIRB], Helicopter Manager, Single Resource [HMGB]). The FAL3 works in the operations functional area.
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Leadership Level 1, Follower (Provide Action)

  • For additional information review Level 1 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.


  • Remain mentally and physically fit and able to determine when conditions have changed, affecting your fitness for duty status.
  • Ensure individual and equipment readiness.
  • Continually strive to improve, learn from others, and develop safe practices that reinforce good habits and decision making.


  • 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

  • Implements saw related objectives, priorities, and work assignments as directed.

Perform Basic Faller-Specific Duties

  • Able to develop and safely execute a cut plan to resolve low complexity saw operations using conventional practices.
  • Maintain certification and qualification by demonstrating proficiency of Basic Faller knowledge and technical skill to a qualified Intermediate or Advanced Faller evaluator(s) per agency protocol.
  • Learn to identify tree anatomy and defects contributing to failure.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of chainsaw components, maintenance, and repair.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Establish and maintain positive communication and coordination with saw teams, your crew, adjoining resources, and supervisors in the work area.
  • Before engaging, receive a thorough briefing from the appropriate supervisor addressing all saw operation specifications and associated expectations.
  • Participate in AARs and information sharing.

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461.
  • Apply Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) to all saw operations.
  • Plan for and manage medical emergencies.
  • Report all accidents, injuries, or near misses to supervisor.
  • Comply with all standards for chainsaw operations as defined in NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Chainsaw Operations, PMS 212, and established agency standards for saw operating procedures.
  • Establish and maintain work area control.
  • Develop and follow safe cutting area practices when using a swamper during saw operations.
  • Learn to recognize changes in operational complexity and report pertinent changes to the appropriate supervisor.


  • Ensure equipment is in good working condition for next assignment and resupply used or damaged equipment as necessary.
  • 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.


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