National Wildfire Coordinating Group

S-490, Advanced Fire Behavior Calculations, 2010

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This is the fourth course in a series designed to develop fire behavior and prediction knowledge and skills. This course prepares students for Advanced Fire Behavior Interpretation, S-590, which addresses the skills for Fire Behavior Analyst and Long Term Fire Analyst positions. It also prepares students desiring to become qualified as a Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 1 (RXB1). The course material is presented in an instructor-led approach to learning. Examples and exercises are divided between wildfire and prescribed fire applications. Students learn to project fire perimeter growth based on weather predictions, and knowledge of fuels and topography, using a variety of scenarios.

Additional instructor developed course materials are available by contacting the Fire Behavior Curriculum Management Unit.


  • Collect and evaluate fire behavior prediction model inputs and compute wildland fire behavior using advanced techniques.
  • Use fire behavior models to predict fire growth in varied terrain.
  • Define likely conditions for extreme fire behavior and potential impacts on safety.
  • Interpret, communicate, apply, and document wildland fire behavior and weather information.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified as a Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN), Long Term Fire Analyst (LTAN), Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 1 (RXB1) or other fire personnel (including NWCG – sponsored state, county, municipal or rural) who would benefit from this course.  

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

Successful completion of Introduction to S-390, Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations. Proficiency using non-automated fire behavior processors:

  • Nomograms
  • Fireline Handbook, Appendix B: Fire Behavior, PMS 410-2

Proficiency using the latest computerized Fire Modeling System is required.

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-490 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course Component Course Time
Pre-course work 2-4
Pre-selection assessment 2-3
Online training N/A
Instructor-led training 40
Total Hours 44-47

Course Level

Regional, state, or area

Minimum Instructor Qualifications

Lead and unit instructors must be qualified as Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN), Long Term Fire Analyst (LTAN), or Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 1 (RXB1).

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


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