L-381, Incident Leadership, 2005

L-381 Decorative banner. Three photos depicting wildland fire supervisory positions. Photo of three firefighters; two looking up at something and the third holding papers. A group of firefighters gather for a briefing. A division supervisor talks on a cell phone with his back to camera while looking at a map.

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This is a leadership development training recommendation for incident response personnel who will function in fireline command roles. The training should be designed to provide at least 50% of the delivery time as exercises and simulations. Low student-to-instructor ratios are necessary for successful exercise/simulation-based training delivery. A dedicated cadre of at least three instructors is recommended for a class size of 18-25 students.


The NWCG Leadership Committee has oversight and maintenance responsibility for the L-381 criteria and evaluation process. However, the delivery process used to meet this training recommendation will need to be determined by the hosting agency. Specific course information can be found at the Wildland Fire Leadership website at https://www.nwcg.gov/wfldp.

Selected course materials should address these topic areas:

  • Command presence/climate
  • Leader’s intent
  • Command and control
  • Rapid team building
  • Communication techniques
  • Detecting and mitigating error
  • Operational tempo awareness


  • The intent of this training recommendation is to provide future leaders of divisions, groups, and Type 3 incidents with the leadership tools to effectively exert command and control over a quickly assembled team in a time constrained and rapidly changing incident environment.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified as Division/Group Supervisor (DIVS) or Incident Commander Type 3 (ICT3).


L-381 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course ComponentCourse Time
Pre-course work8
Pre-selection assessmentN/A
Online trainingN/A
Instructor-led training32
Total Hours40

Session Offerings

Nationally advertised course sessions can be found by searching for L-381 on the National Wildland Fire Training website. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Qualified as any Strike Team Leader, Task Force Leader (TFLD), Incident Commander Type 4 (ICT4), any support unit leader, or Supervisory Dispatcher.
  • Successful completion of L-180, Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service.
  • Satisfactory completion of pre-course work.

Course Level

Regional, state, or area


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