National Wildfire Coordinating Group

About Position Task Books

When a new or revised PTB is published, current trainees with an initiated PTB (including those individuals re-initiating or re-certifying) and at least one documented experience should continue to use their current PTB. Individuals with no tasks completed will use the new or revised PTB. Currently qualified individuals will not be affected by the transition to new or revised PTBs.

Some PTBs have been combined to include common tasks, with additional tasks specified by position. The positions, however, have not been combined. The common tasks only need to be completed once. When the PTB is initiated, the applicable position should be identified by crossing out the non-applicable position(s) on the front cover. For each subsequent position, a new front cover and a new Verification/Certification page must be initiated. Required experience is still effective when prerequisite positions are combined in a PTB with higher organizational positions. Specific criteria for individual positions are identified on the individual position qualification page.


A trainee must meet required position experience for PTB initiation. PTB can be initiated without the trainee first completing all required training. However, all required training must be successfully completed prior to position certification.

PTB initiation is the responsibility of the home unit. PTB may be initiated on an incident by an Incident Training Specialist (TNSP) with concurrence from the home unit.

Completion Timeframes

A PTB is valid for three years from the date of initiation. Upon documentation of the first evaluation record, the three-year time limit is reset from that new date.

The PTB will expire if is not completed in three years from the date of the PTB initiation (or date of first evaluation record). If the PTB expires, a new PTB will need to be initiated. Prior experience documented in the expired PTB may be taken into account in completion of the new PTB at the discretion of the certifying official. All current position qualification standards identified in this document must be met at the time of the new PTB initiation.

Any individual who has begun the evaluation process need not take any newly required course(s) for that position. Additionally, personnel who are qualified in a position before the implementation of this revision may retain certification at the discretion of their agency.

PTB Process

Accurate completion of PTBs is important to the position qualification process.

Front Cover

The front cover documents the trainee name, home unit/agency, and home unit phone number. It also contains the information of the individual initiating the PTB. The front cover will indicate whether a wildland fire or prescribed fire assignment is required before certification.


The Verification/Certification page located on the inside front cover provides a record of the Final Evaluator’s recommendation and agency certification. The Final Evaluator will complete the Final Evaluator’s Verification section along with recommending the trainee for certification on the evaluation record. PTB Verification/Certifications may be completed in hard copy or electronically provided all documentation is available to the evaluator.  The certifying official at the home agency, when appropriate, will complete the agency certification.

Qualification Record

The left column contains a list of tasks that must be performed. If a specific standard (quality or quantity) is required, it will be specified in the task. The sequential numbering does not indicate the order in which the tasks need to be performed or evaluated.

The bullets under each numbered task are examples or indicators of items or actions related to the task that assist the evaluator in evaluating the trainee. They are not all inclusive. Evaluate and initial only the tasks, not each individual bullet.

Each task has a code associated with the type of training assignment where the task may be completed. While tasks can be performed in any situation, they must be evaluated on the specific type of incident/event for which they are coded. For example, tasks coded "W" must be evaluated on a wildland fire. Performance of any task other than the designated assignment is not valid for qualification. The codes are defined as:

  • O = Other: In any situation (classroom, simulation, daily job, incident, prescribed fire, etc.).
  • I = Incident: Task must be performed on an incident managed under the ICS. Examples include wildland fire, structural fire, oil spill, search and rescue, hazardous material, and an emergency or non-emergency (planned or unplanned) event.
  • W = Wildland fire: Task must be performed on a wildland fire incident.
  • RX = Prescribed fire: Task must be performed on a prescribed fire incident.
  • W/RX = Wildland fire OR prescribed fire: Task must be performed on a wildland fire OR prescribed fire incident.
  • R = Rare event: Rare events (such as accidents, injuries, vehicle or aircraft crashes) occur infrequently and opportunities to evaluate performance in a real setting are limited. The evaluator should determine, through interview, if the trainee would be able to perform the task in a real situation.

Each evaluator will complete an evaluation record sheet and enter the corresponding number to reference completed tasks in the Evaluator Record # column.

The final column is for the evaluator to initial and date when the task is completed. All tasks must be completed, initialed, and dated before the trainee can be recommended for certification in the position.

Evaluation Record

An evaluation record is required for each trainee evaluation. The evaluation record documents specific trainee performance for those specific tasks being evaluated and provides a recommendation for further trainee assignments or for certification. Additional copies of the Evaluation Record can be downloaded, and the documentation may be completed in hard copy or electronically provided all necessary documentation is available to the evaluator.

PTB Responsibilities

Home Unit/Agency

The home unit/agency is the designated agency that employs the individual. This could be at the local, state, regional, or national level. Documentation of training, experience, and the qualification process is the responsibility of the home unit/agency. Documentation of training, experience, and the qualification process for contractors is the responsibility of the contractor, except where formal agreements are in place.


The trainee is the individual seeking qualification for a position. A trainee cannot be assigned to an incident unless they are designated as a trainee on their Incident Qualification Card or other agency proof of certification.

The trainee will:

  • Ensure readiness to perform the tasks of the position before undertaking a trainee assignment.
  • Meet with the evaluator and discuss past experience and training, current qualifications, goals, and objectives of the assignment.
  • Ensure evaluators complete the evaluation record, initial completed tasks, and enter a number in the Evaluation Record # column.
  • Provide a copy of the completed PTB to the home agency and retain the original. A lost or destroyed PTB may require additional position performance assignments.


The evaluator is the person who observes the trainee and associated the task(s) being performed and documents successful performance in the PTB. The evaluator must either be qualified in the position being evaluated or supervise the trainee. If not qualified in the position, the evaluator can sign off tasks but cannot serve as the Final Evaluator.

The evaluator will:

  • Meet with the trainee and discuss past experience and training, current qualifications, goals, and objectives of the assignment.
  • Ensure the trainee has an initiated PTB from their home agency.
  • Review the tasks in the PTB with the trainee and explain the procedures that will be used in the evaluation and the objectives that should be met during the assignment.
  • Discuss with the trainee on the specific tasks that can be performed and evaluated during the assignment.
  • Accurately evaluate and record the completion of performed tasks.
  • Complete the appropriate Evaluation Record in the back of the PTB for each trainee evaluation.

Final Evaluator

A Final Evaluator must be qualified in the position they are evaluating. The Final Evaluator will complete the Final Evaluator’s Verification/Certification section inside the front cover of the PTB to recommend certification once all tasks have been evaluated.

Certifying Official

The certifying official from the home unit/agency has administrative authorization to manage the qualification system for that home unit/agency. The certifying official must review and confirm the completion of the PTB and make a determination of agency certification. This determination should be based on the trainee’s demonstration of position competencies and behaviors, as well as the completed PTB—which includes a Final Evaluator’s Verification. Only the certifying official from the home unit/agency has the authority to certify any qualifications.

Documentation for completed PTBs, including the Verification/Certification page, may be completed in hard copy or electronically provided all documentation is complete and verifiable. 

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