National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program header

Wildland Fire Leadership Blog WFLeaders Twitter Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program Facebook Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program YouTube


To promote cultural change in the work force and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.

Leadership, or problems associated with its practice on the fireline, has been cited as a factor contributing to wildland fire accidents for many years. The importance of leadership on fires has been echoed time and again. In recent years the 1995 Findings from the Human Factors Workshop, the 1998 Wildland Firefighter Safety Awareness Study, and the 2004 US Fire Administration Firefighter Life Safety Summit have all identified leadership as an issue that wildland fire agencies need to address.

The members of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) have recognized that a strategy is needed for improving the ability to develop new leaders in wildland fire management. In September 2000, the NWCG Training Working Team commissioned an interagency task group to analyze the existing wildland fire training curriculum for leadership content, identify alternatives, and make recommendations. In February 2001 that task group provided their report to the Training Working Team. The report contained 14 specific recommendations regarding leadership development for wildland fire agencies. In November 2001, the NWCG gave the Training Working Team the approval to charter a committee to implement those 14 recommendations. In January 2002, the Leadership Committee of the Training Working Team began the process of implementing a Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.

Listen to early contributors to the wildland fire leadership initiative share their unique historical perspectives in a panel hosted by Orange County Fire Authority on December 4, 2019.

Panel members included:

  • Paul Hannemann, (NASF), L-480 Steering Group
  • Mark Linane (USFS-retired), IHC representative
  • Jim Cook (USFS-retired), Leadership Sub/Committee co-chair
  • Bill Molumby (USFS-retired), L-480/580 Steering Group
  • Dan Buckley (NPS), Leadership Task Group member
  • Randy Skelton (USFS), Eyes Forward, L-280 Train-the-Trainer, L-380 CMUL
  • Mark Smith, Mission-Centered Solutions
  • Anthony Escobar (USFS-retired), Moderator and early contributor

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program Logo

  • Formal curriculum path that provides leadership skills training at all stages of an individuals career. In conjunction with this training curriculum, leadership skills will be integrated into the NWCG Position Task Book performance assessment system.
  • Value set that supports principle-centered leadership actions in a high-risk work environment.
  • Non-traditional leadership development opportunities that allow individuals to strive for a higher performance level as a leader through self-directed continuous learning.

This program is sponsored by the participating agencies of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. The program components were developed by adapting "best practices" from a number of organizations that operate in high tempo work environments.

Values & Principles


  • Be proficient in your job, both technically and as a leader
  • Make sound and timely decisions
  • Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, accomplished
  • Develop your people for the future


  • Know your people and look out for their well-being
  • Keep your people informed
  • Build the team
  • Employ your people in accordance with their capabilities


  • Know yourself and seek improvement
  • Seek responsibility and accept responsibility for your actions
  • Set the example
Duty Respect Integrity poster.  Shows firefighter kneeling and looking at a column of smoke.


Duty Respect Integrity poster with values written out.


Click on image to enlarge.

WFLDP Social Media Links:



Page Last Modified / Reviewed: