National Wildfire Coordinating Group

A Process to Follow

  1. Before an Assignment
  2. Assigned and Enroute
  3. On Scene Fire Assessment
  4. Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES
  5. Document Your Assessment

What Makes a Good Fire Analyst (Mark Finney...FBSC YouTube Video)

Before an Assignment

  • Evaluate Weather Forecasts and Outlooks
  • Consider local climatology and critical fire weather patterns
  • Review area Pocket Cards and current season severity
  • Review yesterday’s fire activity and notable fire behavior

Assigned and Enroute

  • Get on scene weather reports from yesterday, overnight and current conditions
  • Assess maps and photos of the fire area with current perimeters and recent activity
  • Ask for Spot Forecast and confer with fire weather forecaster
  • Interpret sky and smoke conditions for stability, wind speed and direction, and burning intensity.

On Scene Fire Assessment

  • Request current weather observation and validate your forecast. Is your fireline exposed to or sheltered from the expected winds?
  • Get a picture of current fire activity level.
  • Anticipate today’s next big changes. Do you anticipate changes? When?
  • Characterize fuels (fuel types, loadings, moistures) adjacent to your fire, especially where folks are working and where fire could move.
  • Inventory of significant terrain features ahead of the fire. Will it burn upslope or down?
  • Continue to monitor the sky for cloud and smoke indicators.
  • Estimate the fire behavior you anticipate in view of the current situation and the expected changes. What spread rates do you anticipate? What flame lengths? Do you anticipate crown fire? Spotting across your lines or long range?

Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES

  • Determine time frames for escape to safety and escape routes. What windspeeds or changes in fire behavior will render those time frames insufficient?
  • Identify best locations and methods for lookout to monitor and validate your assessment.
  • Ensure that weather and fire behavior observations are communicated to the entire crew.
  • Will fatigue and logistics factors impact these decisions?

Document Your Assessment

  • Record your observations and assumptions.
  • Use worksheets and include notes for each assessment.
  • Include assessments and decisions in personal logs.
  • Remember: If you’re not keeping score, it’s just practice.


PRINT FBFRG A Process to Follow


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