S-244, Field Observer, 2007

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This course provides students with the skills necessary to perform as a Field Observer (FOBS) and/or a Fire Effects Monitor (FEMO). Topics include roles and responsibilities of the FOBS and FEMO; how to make observations and document those observations; how to produce hand drawn and GPS field maps; and how to navigate using a compass and GPS. The navigation unit has 4½ hours of field exercises and the final field exercise is 8 hours. For pre-course work, students need to read and complete exercises in Basic Land Navigation, PMS 475.


  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge to gather and report information for incident planning.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified as Field Observer (FOBS) and/or Fire Effects Monitor (FEMO).

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Successful completion of S-290, Intermediate Wildland Fire Behavior.
  • Successful completion of pre-course work.
  • Basic understanding of how to use a GPS receiver.
  • FOBS: Qualified as any single resource boss.


  • FEMO: Qualified as a Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2).

Session Offerings

Sessions of this course may be available in the NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP). Enrollment requires an account. Log on as a guest to search for session offerings of this course and to view other public content. To search for a specific course, use the FIND LEARNING menu at the top of the page, then select UPCOMING COURSES. To view Geographic Area training schedules, select the specific GEOGRAPHIC AREA information using the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.



S-244 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course Component Course Time
Pre-course work 8
Pre-selection assessment N/A
Online training N/A
Instructor-led training 20
Total Hours 28

Course Level


Minimum Instructor Qualifications

The lead instructor must be a qualified Situation Unit Leader (SITL).

Unit instructors must be qualified as either Field Observer (FOBS) or Fire Effects Monitor (FEMO).

See NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1, Instructor Standards for more information.

Certification Date:


Previous Certificate date



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