National Wildfire Coordinating Group



Incident documentation refers to all records—including, but not limited to, word processing documents, spreadsheets, telephone and e-mail messages, tabular information, GPS-gathered files, kml/ kmz files, geodatabases, feature services, maps, and other output products—saved as official incident records. The Documentation Unit Leader (DOCL) in the Planning Section compiles this information for the entire incident and provides it to the host unit at the incident’s conclusion. All official incident records can be used for investigations and lawsuits and should provide an accurate record of what information was available to support decisions and actions by overhead/line personnel.

Documents = Records; anything used to support a decision is a document and should be retained.

Document Examples: Map requests, Geographic Information System Specialist (GISS) map production list, digital map products, feature service data, incident geodatabases, GPS coordinates, handwritten adjustments to maps, SMS/email/photo data changes, General Message forms, meeting notes

Non-Document Examples: Personal notes, emails about lunch contents, intermediate data


The GISS must follow these specifications to ensure documentation is correctly collected, attributed, and stored.

  • Work with the Situation Unit Leader (SITL) and DOCL to understand process for documentation.
  • Document all work requests on a General Message form.
  • Use the Event Geodatabase data standard for storing any applicable incident data.
  • Adhere to the Directory Structure and File Naming standards to enable data discovery and retrieval.
  • Use FireNet for all incident related communications, document sharing, or public outreach.
  • Track and document work requirements, map changes, and special map requests using method required by SITL.
  • Store all electronic files in the GISS Directory Structure.
  • Maintain a contact list of incident GISS and any local contacts used for data acquisition and sharing.



The GISS must correctly store all documents and ensure they are included in the incident documentation.


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