National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Planning Section Chief Type 1

PSC1 decorative banner: photos depicting PSC1 position. PSC1 Position Description: The Planning Section Chief (PSC1), a member of the General Staff, is responsible for collecting, evaluating, disseminating, and using information about the development of the incident, status of resources, and demobilization of the incident. Information is needed to understand the current situation, predict probable course of incident events, prepare alternative strategies and control operations for the incident, and provide for an orderly and economical demobilization of the incident.

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PSC1 Incident Position Description

The Planning Section Chief Type 1 (PSC1) manages all aspects of incident planning, situation and resource status, and demobilization of an incident. The PSC1 supervises members of the Planning Section. The PSC1 is part of the Command and General (C&G) Staff and reports to the Incident Commander (IC) under typical incident organizations. The PSC1 works in the Planning functional area.

The PSC1 performs position duties commensurate with Type 1 incident complexity and characteristics stated in the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book). (Type 1, 2 and 3 PSC duties are identical but performed at different complexity levels.)
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Leadership Level 5, Leader of Organizations (Create Vision)

  • For additional information review Level 5 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Obtain and assemble information and materials needed for kit.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Check in with incident supervisor and/or dispatch when arriving at the incident.
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.
  • Obtain briefing from previous shift/assignment PSC if available.

Build the Team

  • Assemble and validate readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, and risk management processes.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisor and subordinates.
  • Brief assigned personnel.
  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Identify and communicate needs for Incident Command Post (ICP) work locations, equipment, and set up for assigned resources.
  • 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.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.
  • Develop and implement contingency plans. Communicate changing conditions to assigned resources and supervisor.

Perform Planning Section Chief Type 1-Specific Duties

  • Establish and maintain incident planning cycle. Communicate expected time frames for briefings, planning meetings, and team meetings to other section chiefs.
  • Organize planning meeting location and ensure necessary materials are available.
  • Facilitate meetings and briefings during the planning cycle.
  • Establish information requirements and reporting schedules for section.
  • Monitor incident status and coordinate with other command and general staff members to develop alternative strategies.
  • Manage the preparation of strategies and plans for the incident and submit incident status reports.
  • Identify kind, type, and quantity of resources necessary to achieve objectives.
  • Determine need for any specialized resources in support of the incident.
  • Request additional personnel, supplies, services, and equipment within the established ordering processes for efficient operations within the section.
  • Maintain a master list of all resources (e.g., key supervisory personnel, primary and support resources, etc.).
  • Supervise and configure section with units and single resources as necessary based on changes in incident situation and resource status.
  • Establish special information collection activities as necessary (e.g., weather, fire behavior, environmental, toxins, etc.).
  • Ensure the collection, processing, and organizing of all incident information.
  • Prepare, collect, evaluate, disseminate, and use incident information to develop the IAP.
  • Coordinate with all sections to assure the IAP as proposed can be implemented and supported by available resources and reconcile any differences.
  • Supervise or accomplish preparation and distribution of the IAP. Obtain elements from other appropriate sections within established time frames.
  • As needed, prepare future projections of incident growth, maps, and intelligence.
  • Ensure the Operations Section Chief identifies incident control lines, values to be protected, division boundaries and drop points, and prioritizes divisions ahead of allocating scarce resources.
  • Report any significant changes in status information, providing accurate and current situation as well as resource status information with accurate maps.
  • Identify or reaffirm incident objectives throughout the assignment.
  • Implement, describe, and utilize necessary agency policy, legal and fiscal constraints, and political considerations to be used in the planning meeting to review adequacy of strategic plans.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date incident files, provide duplication services, and ensure proper storage of incident files for legal, analytical, and historical purposes.
  • Work with technical specialist(s) [e.g., hazardous materials specialist, environmental specialists, Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) Team, and Resource Advisors (READ)] and keep updated on their activities.
  • Coordinate incident suppression repair needs with responsible agencies and technical specialist(s).
  • Ensure all incident reports and narratives are completed and debrief Agency Administrator (as directed) upon completion of the incident.

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 Command System (ICS) functional areas and chain of command.
  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:
    • Support resources
    • Adjacent resources
    • Supervisor
    • Other ICS functional areas
  • Keep supervisor and assigned personnel informed of organizational changes.
  • Conduct and/or participate in After Action Reviews (AAR).

Manage Risk

  • Ensure risk management processes are maintained throughout the incident and reflected in IAP.
  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure that proper section develops the Medical Plan (ICS 206 WF) for inclusion in the IAP.
  • Account for location, health, safety, and welfare of assigned personnel.
  • Report all accidents or injuries to the incident supervisor.
  • Ensure compliance with all safety practices and procedures for assigned resources.
  • Ensure work/rest policy guidelines are managed for assigned personnel.


  • Participate in the transition briefing for the incoming Incident Management Team (IMT) and include documentation such as transition planning documents.
  • Ensure adequate documentation of all actions taken in relation to incident planning.
  • Provide the host agency with an Incident Record Retention Kit.
  • Complete, authorize, ensure timeliness of, and route as required:
    • IAP (containing applicable ICS Forms)
    • Activity Log (ICS 214)
    • Incident Status Summary (ICS 209)
    • GIS Spatial Data and Maps
    • Crew Time Report (CTR), SF-261 (Watch: How to correctly fill out a CTR)
    • Incident Personnel Performance Rating (ICS 225 WF)
    • Other incident reports and narratives
    • Incident Record Retention Kit (Documentation Box)


  • Anticipate demobilization, identify excess resources, coordinate with operations to prepare demobilization schedule, and communicate with supervisor.
  • Plan for demobilization. Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities.
  • Oversee preparation and implementation of the Incident Demobilization Plan.
  • Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest driving standards are followed.
  • Coordinate with local dispatch center to ensure air travel is coordinated efficiently.
  • Return equipment and supplies to appropriate unit.
  • Complete demobilization checkout process before being released from the incident.
  • Upon demobilization, report status to home unit including reassignment or estimated time of arrival (ETA) to home unit.
  • During transfer of command:
    • Ensure continuity of operations.
    • Exchange critical safety information.
    • Communicate transfer of authority through established chain of command.


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