S-491, Intermediate National Fire Danger Rating System, 2015

S-491 Decorative banner: Four photos of wildland fire operations. An aerial of a large plume of smoke rising from a forest fire. Smokey Bear on a roadside fire activity sign. A firefighter takes a weather meter reading as he points his device at the fire beyond. A pair of hands hold a weather gauge and weather charts checking the data.

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The course develops the knowledge and skill to operate, maintain and manage the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) at the local unit. Course lecture and exercises support practical and technical application of the intellectually complex subject matter. The course requires a computer classroom with Internet access to present.


  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to operate, apply, and manage the National Fire Danger Rating System.

Target Group

The course lessons and exercises support training for dispatchers and others charged with editing and inputting weather information into WIMS used for NFDRS calculations, fire management staff who apply NFDRS outputs to decision-making, and fire behavior specialists who incorporate NFDRS products into assessments and projections.


S-491 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course ComponentCourse Time
Pre-course workN/A
Pre-selection assessment8
Online trainingN/A
Instructor-led training36
Total Hours44

Session Offerings

Nationally advertised course sessions can be found by searching for S-491 on the National Wildland Fire Training website. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Demonstrate at least intermediate skills with the current Windows™ operating system.
  • Successful completion of S-290, Intermediate Wildland Fire Behavior.
  • Possess a valid Weather Information Management System (WIMS) and Wildland Fire Management Information system (WFMI) logon identification.
  • Current and comprehensive working knowledge of WIMS (the WIMS course is strongly recommended to attain this prerequisite knowledge).
  • Successfully complete the pre-selection assessment with a minimum passing score of 70% or higher.

Computer Specialist

It is essential that a computer specialist either be one of the cadre members or be immediately available to the course presentation to resolve any computer, network, or printing problems encountered. Persons selected to fill this capacity must be thoroughly familiar with the hardware (personal computers, network, internet connection, printers, projector) used in presenting the course, with directory structures used, and to a lesser extent the software and its installation.

Course Materials

Course coordinators or lead instructors should contact the Fire Environment Curriculum Subcommittee to obtain most recent course materials. See Roster for contact information at https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/fire-environment-curriculum-subcommittee.

Course Level

Regional, state, or area


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