L-481, Advanced Leadership for Command and General Staff, 2015

L-481 Decorative banner. Three photos of wildland fire operations. Three fire personnel stand at hood of truck with maps spread out and a water bottle on top, with female incident commander pointing toward sky. Four fire personnel stand in a tent, the incident commander making a phone call on a landline. A large group gather around a maps table in a tent.

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This is a leadership development recommendation that focuses on leadership within the context of large/complex incident management, to include team collective tasks and functions accomplished by large Incident Management Teams (IMTs). Individual tasks include functioning as a productive member of a staff organization, being a positive contributor to staff decision-making, maintaining a common operating picture, demonstrating staff member ethos, and projecting operational culture and leader’s intent.


The NWCG Leadership Committee has maintenance responsibility for the L-481 course package 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 topics:

  • Establishing a staff value system, team culture, and command presence
  • Developing and maintaining a team-level common operating picture
  • Developing and communicating leader’s intent through a critical thinking process
  • Propagating intent at all levels of the incident organization
  • Effectively operate in the ICS system and utilize ICS products and doctrine
  • Promoting integration of functional areas and a high-level of teamwork into strategic planning


  • The intent of this training is to produce Command and General Staff members who can fulfill the responsibilities of an effective staff officer or section chief within an IMT, contribute effectively to an IMT’s decision-making process, and perform as an effective organizational leader in their own functional area and as a member of the IMT.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified in a command or general staff position on an Incident Management Team.


L-481 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-481 on the National Wildland Fire Training website. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Successful completion of L-480, Organizational Leadership in the Wildland Fire Service


  • Successful completion of L-380, Fireline Leadership


  • Successful completion of L-381, Incident Leadership


  • Successful completion of L-180, Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service; plus completion of 40 hours in any supervision or leadership training course(s)


  • Satisfactory completion of pre-course work.

Course Level

Regional, state, or area


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