National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Strategic Operational Planner

SOPL decorative banner: photos depicting SOPL position.

SOPL Homepage Button Position Incident Position Description Button Position Reference Materials Button Position Qualification Requirements Button

The Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL) is responsible for developing the course of action on long-term wildfire events. The SOPL may be ordered by and work for the host unit, the Geographic Area Coordination Center (GACC), or an Incident Management Team (IMT). The SOPL may work in the Planning, Operations, or Command functional areas, or separate from the IMT with the Agency Administrator (AA), Fire Management Officer (FMO), local fire management organization, or entity that orders the SOPL.

The Forest Service and Department of Interior are enabled by Administratively Determined Pay Plans (AD Pay Plans) to hire persons for temporary duration for the following reasons:

  1. To cope with a sudden and unexpected emergency caused by a fire, or extreme fire potential, flood, storm, or any other all-hazard emergency that threatens damage to federally protected property, has the potential to cause loss of life, serious injury, public health risk, or damage to natural or cultural resources unless brought under immediate control.
  2. To provide emergency assistance to States under formalized agreements.
  3. To meet mission assignments issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Incident Business Committee (IBC) reviews positions annually and establishes pay rate classifications for each position.

For more information on the AD Pay Plans, go to

Jun 2020

Added: Incident Position Description (IPD) approved.

Jun 2011

Updated: Required Experience to include both RXB2 and DIVS.

Jun 2009

Position created.

FUM1/2 position codes have been converted to one position titled Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL). This position has been moved to the Planning Section. Currently qualified FUM1/2 will be converted to SOPL. FUM1 trainee will be converted to SOPL. FUM2 trainee will be converted to SOPL trainee. Specific direction is in the transition plan which can be found on the NWCG Publication Management System (Qualifications) web site:


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