National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Incident Commander Type 4

ICT4 decorative banner: photos depicting ICT4 position. ICT4 Position Description: The Incident Commander (ICT4) is responsible for all incident activities.

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ICT4 Incident Commander Type 4 Incident Position Description

The Incident Commander Type 4 (ICT4) develops strategies and oversees the implementation of tactics, while providing for the safety of the public and all personnel assigned to the incident. The ICT4 reports to an Agency Administrator (AA), Duty Officer, Fire Management Officer, or other designated supervisor and works in the Command functional area.

The ICT4 performs position duties commensurate with Type 4 incident complexity and characteristics stated in the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book).
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Leadership Level 3, Leader of People (Develop Intent)

  • For additional information review Level 3 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/incident (i.e., current and forecast weather, maps, radio frequencies, contact list).
  • Obtain briefing from dispatch and/or any personnel that are already operating on the incident.

Build the Team

  • Assemble and validate the readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate the chain of command and reporting procedures.
  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisors and subordinates.
  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability.
  • Provide for training opportunities as appropriate.

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 incident objectives and performance standards are met.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.

Perform Incident Commander Type 4-Specific Duties

  • Identify oneself as the Incident Commander (IC) and take command of the incident.
  • Clearly and professionally communicate intent to assigned personnel.
  • Ensure all assigned resources receive a complete briefing.
  • Establish and maintain an appropriate span of control.
  • Complete timely complexity analysis. Make and communicate the needed adjustments of any incident complexity changes.
  • Ensure work assignments are completed and special instructions are followed. Monitor work progress and evaluate the incident situation.
  • Provide situation update and accomplishments to the AA, dispatch, and/or duty officer.
  • Identify and anticipate operational and logistical needs and request additional resources and/or replacements as needed.
  • Monitor Fire Weather and communicate the current forecast and any changes to all incident personnel.
  • Consider smoke impacts to sensitive areas.
  • Ensure transfer of command is communicated to host unit dispatch and to all incident personnel.
  • Account for all assigned resources.

Perform Fireline Duties

  • Develop and implement tactics based on incident objectives, fire behavior, weather forecast, and risk assessment.
  • Organize and deploy assigned resources based on established objectives and resource capabilities. Match appropriate resources to assignment.
  • Coordinate travel to and from fireline (e.g., travel routes, communication procedures, accountability). Ensure adherence to vehicle safety procedures. Identify ingress and egress routes. Consider bridge and road limits, equipment weight and length, and weather effects.
  • Provide status updates on conditions affecting operations, hazardous conditions, unresolved conflicts, air operations, etc. to dispatch.
  • Report special occurrences (e.g., structure/improved property loss or damage, accidents, sickness) to dispatch.
  • Ensure protection of natural, cultural, and other values at risk as designated by an AA, duty officer, fire management officer, or resource advisor.
  • Use maps, compass, Global Positioning System (GPS), and other tools and applications to gather information, and navigate on incident.
  • Assign personnel to collect, document, and report weather observations.
  • Provide situation update and accomplishments to dispatch and/or relief forces at the end of shift or at completion of assignment.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Ensure a clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across Incident Command System (ICS) functional areas and chain of command.
  • Obtain regular updates from assigned resources.
  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:
    • Dispatch
    • Support resources
    • Adjacent resources
    • Duty Officer
  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Use plain language and ICS terminology.
  • Conduct After Action Reviews (AAR).

Manage Risk

  • 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
  • Seek feedback on the Risk Management Process from assigned personnel.
  • Ensure Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are established and known to all firefighters before they are needed. Refer to the guidelines stated in IRPG.
  • Apply the Standard Firefighting Orders and Watch Out Situations to your assignment, as stated in the IRPG.
  • Use Look Up, Down and Around in the IRPG to help maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly. Develop and communicate contingency plans and trigger points.
  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure assigned resources 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.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of fatigue, illness, or injury. Mitigate appropriately.
  • Ensure safety receives priority consideration in all incident activities, and the safety and welfare of all incident personnel and the public are maintained.
  • Submit accident/incident reports with pertinent forms (SAFECOM, SAFENET, agency-specific forms) through the established chain of command.
  • Ensure work/rest policy and guidelines are managed for assigned personnel.
  • Set measurable objectives to minimize the level of risk while achieving the highest probability of success.
  • Ensure risk management processes are maintained throughout the incident.
  • Monitor strategic progress and modify objectives for risk versus value.


  • Ensure all documentation is complete.
  • Ensure all original documents are provided to the host unit at the conclusion of the incident or transferred to the incoming IC if a transition occurs.
  • Maintain documentation of significant decisions.
  • Complete Incident Personnel Performance Rating (ICS 225 WF).
  • Complete Crew Time Report (CTR), SF-261 (Watch: How to correctly fill out a CTR).


  • Plan for demobilization. Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities. Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures are followed.
  • Return equipment and supplies to appropriate units and/or provide inventory and location of equipment and supplies to incoming IC.
  • During the transfer of command:
    • Ensure continuity of operations.
    • Exchange critical safety information.
    • Communicate transfer of authority through the established chain of command.
  • Communicate and recommend demobilization timeline to dispatch and host unit.
  • Assist agency with complexity analysis in a timely manner to facilitate an appropriate transfer of command.
  • Anticipate potential resource needs for the incoming organization.
  • Ensure turn back standards provided by the hosting units/jurisdictions are completed and/or addressed.
  • Ensure incident personnel travel after appropriate rest.


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