National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Firing Boss, Single Resource

FIRB decorative banner: Four photos depicting firing boss position, firefighter firing a flare, firefighters observing fire, firefighter pointing toward fire. FIRB Position Description:  The Firing Boss leads ground and/or aerial ignition operations and coordinates with holding resources on wildland and prescribed fire incidents. The FIRB supervises assigned firing resources and reports to a Strike Team/Task Force Leader, Burn Boss or other assigned supervisor. The FIRB works in the Operations functional area.

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FIRB Incident Position Description

The Firing Boss leads ground and/or aerial ignition operations and coordinates with holding resources on prescribed fire and wildfire incidents. The FIRB supervises assigned firing resources and reports to a Burn Boss, Strike Team/Task Force Leader, or other assigned supervisor.  The FIRB works in the Operations functional area.
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Leadership Level 2, New Leader (Convey Intent)

  • For additional information review Level 2 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Coordinate travel (e.g., travel routes, communication procedures, and accountability). Ensure adherence to vehicle safety procedures. Identify ingress and egress routes.
  • Review relevant documents [e.g., Prescribed Fire Burn Plan, Firing Plan, Incident Action Plan (IAP), and the Project Aviation Safety Plan (PASP)] and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability. Confirm that relevant plan has all assigned resources listed. Report any missing resources up chain of command.
  • Assemble and validate readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, risk management processes, and radio frequency management.
  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisors and subordinates.
  • Participate in operational briefings as directed.
  • Obtain and distribute relevant plans and maps.
  • Brief assigned personnel using burn plan checklist and/or NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461 briefing checklist.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
  • Adjust actions based on changing information and evolving situation awareness. Develop and implement contingency plans. Communicate changing conditions to assigned resources and supervisor.
  • Ensure relevant plan objectives and performance standards are met.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.

Perform Firing Boss-Specific Duties

  • Planning and preparation:
    • Review relevant plan.
    • Develop or review the firing plan and provide information and recommendations through established chain of command.
    • Use maps, compass, Global Positioning System (GPS) and other tools and applications to gather information and navigate on incident.
    • Recon area of responsibility and assess feasibility of assigned objectives.
    • Calculate/estimate ability to achieve:
      • Overall objectives of project or treatment
      • Desired fire effects
    • Consult with supervisor on resource needs.
    • Assign personnel to collect, document, and report weather observations.
    • Identify and utilize appropriate combinations of resources to conduct firing operations.
      • Obtain firing platforms and devices specific to terrain, fuel type, access, and other factors (e.g., Terra Torch®, helitorch, drip torch) as identified in relevant plan.
        • NOTE: The prescribed fire burn plan or other operational plan provided to the FIRB may specifically limit what firing devices may be considered.
    • Ensure assigned firing resources are equipped and capable of carrying out the ignition plan.
      • Provide resources with overview of the operation so they can properly equip and prepare for it.
      • Ensure logistical needs are met such as how and where to obtain and transport fuel to the work site or staging areas, etc.
    • Coordinate ignition operations with holding forces.
  • Firing operations:
    • Use established risk management process during operation (considering evolving situational awareness and tactical adjustments).
    • Communicate and coordinate with resources and supervision as firing operations progress.
    • Complete test fire according to plan.
    • Direct firing activities and evaluate firing techniques to ensure management objectives are met.
    • Provide supervisor with status updates on conditions affecting operations, hazardous conditions, special occurrences (e.g., structure/improved property loss or damage, accidents, sickness) air operations, etc.
    • Through established chain of command, assist the responsible land management agency protecting natural, cultural, and other resources as required by the plan or as requested by assigned Resource Advisor (READ). Communicate when such resources are discovered and document actions taken to avoid or reduce impacts and/or impacts that occurred when avoidance wasn’t possible.
    • Adjust firing techniques to mitigate smoke exposure to personnel, roadways, and smoke sensitive populations.
    • Use aviation capability to direct firing sequences and observe firing operation as necessary, as referenced in the NWCG Standards for Aerial Ignition, PMS 501.
    • Suspend ignition operations when objectives are not being met, and notify supervisor.
    • Brief supervisor and/or relief forces at end of each shift.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Ensure clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across Incident Commend System (ICS) functional areas and chain of command.
  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:
    • Support resources
    • Adjacent resources
    • Supervisor
  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Use plain language and ICS terminology.
  • When using aerial ignition, refer to and review the NWCG Standards for Aerial Ignition, PMS 501, for established communication protocols with assigned pilots and operators.
  • Conduct and/or participate in After Action Reviews (AARs).

Manage Risk

  • Coordinate with supervisors and all assigned firing and holding resources to ensure ignition patterns and sequence are known and understood, and that associated actions to provide for personnel safety are carried out.
  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • Identify Hazards
    • Assess Hazards
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions
    • Implement Controls
    • Supervise and Evaluate
  • Ensure Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are established and known to all personnel before they are needed. Refer to guidelines stated in the IRPG.
  • Use Look Up, Down and Around in IRPG to help maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly. Develop and communicate contingency plans and trigger points.
  • Utilize Safety Officers as appropriate to assist with risk management process and provide input into safety of operations.
  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure that assigned resources are prepared to execute the Medical Plan (ICS 206 WF). Ensure familiarity with medical responders, communication procedures, and transportation plan. Manage the medical emergency based on procedures stated in the the Medical Incident Report or relevant plan.
  • Monitor personnel for signs and symptoms of fatigue, illness, or injury. Mitigate appropriately.
  • Account for location, health, safety, and welfare of assigned personnel.
  • Submit accident/incident reports with pertinent forms (SAFECOM, SAFENET, agency-specific forms) through established chain of command.



  • Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities. Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest driving standards are followed.
  • Return equipment and supplies as appropriate.
  • Complete demobilization checkout process as appropriate.
  • Upon demobilization, report status to home unit including estimated time of arrival (ETA) to home unit.


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