National Wildfire Coordinating Group

RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)

Introduction to Fire Behavior

RT-130 Decorative banner. Group of photos depicting wildland firefighters performing various duties.

Learn about fire behavior and why understanding fire behavior is critical to fire managers.
Category: Fire-Environment
Core Component(s): Incident Reviews and Lessons Learned
Estimated Delivery Time: 30 minutes; Video Length: 9:57



All firefighters need to understand the basic elements of fire behavior and the components of the fire environment.

Facilitator Preparation

  • Review the video and module tools.
  • Consider additional activities and discussion questions pertinent to the location and agency.

Facilitating the Discussion

  • Show the video.
  • Facilitate a small or large group discussion using the discussion questions below.

Discussion Questions

  1. What types of fire behavior present control problems on your home unit?
  2. Based on your home unit’s current seasonal outlook, what flame lengths and rate of spread can you anticipate at the peak of fire season?
  3. Can you or your module direct attack a fire with those estimated flame lengths and rates of spread? If not, what other tactics can be utilized?
  4. What is the national seasonal outlook for this year?
  5. Haines index wasn’t discussed in the video. What role does the Haines index play on fire behavior at your home unit?
  6. When have you experienced unexpected fire behavior on your home unit? What were some of the contributing factors?


Additional Video Information

This video is also available to download: download. (Size 33 MB)
Download the .srt file for closed captioning (you may need to right-click and Save As). For information on how to add closed captioning to a video, see this how-to page.

Note: For Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, right click the word download and select Save Link As; for Internet Explorer (IE), right click and select Save Target As.



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