National Wildfire Coordinating Group

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

Developing Realistic Tactical Objectives

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

Developing realistic tactical objectives and plans is both an art and a science. For new and inexperienced incident commanders this can be a formidable task, one that is littered with pitfalls. Recognizing those pitfalls and avoiding them is a step in the right direction to becoming a successful, safe, and effective IC.
Category: Leadership
Core Component(s): Incident Reviews and Lessons Learned;
Human Factors, Communication and Decision Making

Estimated Delivery Time: 30 minutes; Video Length: 13:36



Developing realistic tactical objectives and plans can be a formidable task that is littered with pitfalls. Discuss how to avoid the pitfalls and be a successful, safe, and effective IC.

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.

Discussion Questions

  1. What Information can you gather prior to arriving at the incident?
  2. How can you paint the picture for the land manager you are working for?
  3. What can you do if the land manager gives you conflicting objectives?
  4. Multiple resource and supply orders can be a cumbersome pitfall. What tools can you use to avoid this pitfall?
  5. What can happen if you don’t set up alternative plans? Have you experienced a bad outcome due to lack of alternative plans?
  6. What are some of the benefits of trigger points? Do you set trigger points for reassessing the plan and situation?
  7. How can you incorporate the feedback from others into your objectives and plan?
  8. Benchmarks are a valuable tool that will allow you to evaluate your progress and identify whether you need to reassess your plan. What are some examples of benchmarks that you could set?


Additional Video Information

This video is also available as a download. (150 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.

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