National Wildfire Coordinating Group

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

Command and Control

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

Definitions of command and control, Ted Talks episode, discussions of effectiveness, and a successful command and control naval story.
Category: Leadership
Core Component(s): Incident Reviews and Lessons Learned;
Human Factors, Communication and Decision Making

Estimated Delivery Time: 30 minutes; Video Length: 15:48



Describe command and control utilizing leader’s intent and empowerment down and up the chain of command. Utilize task, purpose, and end state in mission planning. Recognize the value of trust and communication in command and control.

Facilitator Preparation

  • Review the video and module tools.
  • Consider additional activities and discussion questions relevant to the location and agency.
  • Review Operational Leadership and Leader’s Intent in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461.

Facilitating the Discussion

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

Discussion Questions

  1. The video says, “When a leader’s intent is communicated and crew members operate with a degree of autonomy, problems can be solved without asking for permission.” Have you experienced this on a crew?  Give a specific example of when this happened for you.
  2. What do you think about pushing control and responsibility down the organization’s chart? Giving people ownership by making them accountable and in control?
  3. Colin Powell emphasizes the importance of trust. What is the relationship between trust and vulnerability as it pertains to wildland fire culture where vulnerability can seem like weakness?
  4. During your fire career, have you been on an incident that lacked command and control? How did this affect operations and decision-making on the front lines? After watching this video, how could this situation have been avoided?


Additional Video Information

This video is also available as a download. (Size 1 GB)
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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