National Wildfire Coordinating Group



Standard symbols in mapping wildland fires facilitates fast and consistent interpretation of mapping products and helps prevent ambiguous map interpretation, which can become a safety issue during an incident. In the interest of encouraging safety, consistency, and readability, GeoOps describes the symbols that should be used when creating maps.​


The following applies:

  • Symbols should be identifiable and clearly distinguishable from other Incident Command System (ICS) symbols, whether displayed in color or black and white.
  • Common map conventions (e.g., blue for hydrologic features) should be observed, if possible, to ensure clear communication.
  • National symbology standards should be used where appropriate. See references below.
  • Choice of symbol size is at the discretion of the Geographic Information System Specialist (GISS) and the Situation Unit Leader (SITL)​.
  • Latitude/Longitude information is displayed in degrees, decimal minutes, WGS 84 datum.
  • The Point Feature symbology specifications table should be referenced for label requirements.
  • The Label attribute is typically used to dynamically label all Point features, with the exception of Division, Branch, and Zone Breaks.  Dynamic labels can also be used for Line or Polygon features when needed (e.g., Management Action Points).  All labels, if turned on, will label on the Label field in the attribute table by default.  
  • Division, Branch, and Zone labels should be placed between assignment breaks, using the Label Point Feature Layer.



The SITL ensures that standard map symbology is used for mapping wildland fire incidents. The GISS uses the standard GIS map symbology and, if applicable, standard map symbol colors but may adapt (e.g., enlarge, use halo) the symbology for map readability while maintaining the essential design of the standard symbols.


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