National Wildfire Coordinating Group

NWCG Standards for Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations, PMS 515

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The NWCG Standards for Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations standardizes the processes and procedures for interagency use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), including pilot inspections and approvals. In support of fire management goals and objectives, the aviation community references these standards to utilize UAS in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. These standards further serve as a risk assessment for fire UAS operations and meet federal requirements for aviation safety and operational planning pertaining to recurring aviation missions. Agency level policy and guidance is provided through established federal or state plans and processes.

The NWCG Standards for Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations, PMS 515, is developed and maintained by the Interagency Fire Unmanned Aircraft Systems Subcommittee (IFUASS), under the direction of the National Interagency Aviation Committee (NIAC), an entity of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

While previous versions may contain current or useful information, previous versions are obsolete. The user of this information is responsible for confirming that they have the most up-to-date version. NWCG is the sole source for the publication.

Comments, questions, and recommendations shall be submitted to the appropriate agency program manager assigned to the IFUASS. View the complete roster. Please use the NWCG Publication Revision Form to provide feedback on this publication to your agency representative.  


  1. UAS Program Administration
  2. UAS Typing and Call Signs
  3. Operational Requirements
  4. Mission Planning and Mobilization
  5. Airspace Coordination
  6. Mission Flight Procedures
  7. Aircraft Coordination and Separation
  8. UAS Aerial Ignition
  9. Safety Considerations
  10. UAS Incursions
  11. Job Aids for UAS Operations
  12. Website References

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) provides national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners.  NWCG operations standards are interagency by design; they are developed with the intent of universal adoption by the member agencies.  However, the decision to adopt and utilize them is made independently by the individual member agencies and communicated through their respective directives systems.

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