Decision Support Toolbox

Line Officer Guide

This guide for fire management was created to aid Line Officers who oversee fire management from the preseason through the life of a fire and after. It is sponsored by Forest Service, the National Line Officer Team (NLOT) and was developed by the WFM RD&A with recommendations from Agency Administrators and Line Officers.

If you have questions or comments regarding the Line Officer/AA Desk Guide or the AA certification program please contact:

Document Downloads
Line Officer/AA Desk Guide (.pdf - updated 4/28/19)
2019 Wildland Fire Season NPS Letter of Intent
2019 Superintendent Desk Reference Guide
2019 Superintendent Checklist
2019 FS Letter of Intent

2016 USFS Wildland Fire Risk Management Protocols
2014 USFS Briefing Paper - Evolving Incident Management

Line Officer Guide Forms and Templates
BAER Team Delegation Template - docx version
Cost Share Agreement Template - docx version
Example Turn Back Standards & Mopup Guidelines

Decision Making for Wildland Fire Incidents

Decision making for wildfires: A guide for applying a risk management process at the incident level" has been published as a General Technical Report (GTR) by the Rocky Mountain Research Station and is available in Adobe PDF format only; Click Here to learn more about the publication.

Delegation of Authority, Leaders Intent and Briefing Package Template

Additional findings to the Objectives project noted that many Delegation of Authority (DOA) letters, Leaders Intent, Briefing Packages and the WFDSS decision documentation were inconsistent (and at times in conflict of each other), resulting in unclear direction to Incident Management Teams. It was challenging for the IMTs to interpret and implement the expectations from all of these documents since they had priorities or expectations which differed. In response to these inconsistencies, the Wildland Fire Management Research, Development & Application program (WFM RD&A) developed several example documents to use as templates for the DOA, Leaders Intent and Briefing Package for field use. These documents can be downloaded below or they can be found in the RedBook.

Delegation of Authority Template
Leaders Intent Letter Template
Briefing Package Template

Incident Objectives Project

Examination of wildland fire incident decisions revealed that most incident objectives are written general enough that they could apply to any fire in the country. This makes them of little use to incident management teams in developing strategies and tactics to achieve an agency administrator's intent for managing a specific fire and for agency administrators seeking to clarify the objectives they want accomplished.

A systematic evaluation of wildfire incident decisions was undertaken during the 2014 fire season, to better understand the situation and recommend solutions. Findings from this work are summarized in the following briefing papers

USDA FS Briefing Paper 2015 Findings - WFDSS Decision review of Incident Objectives and Incident Requirements (Updated April 8, 2016)
Incident Objectives & Incident Requirements Presentation (.pptx) - Power Point presentation summarizing findings from 2014 and 2015 Incident Objectives and Incident Requirements review. (Updated April 8, 2016)
White Paper - Improving WFDSS Incident Objectives & Incident Requirements and Relaying Leader's Intent (Updated July 1, 2015)
Creating Incident Specific Objectives in WFDSS - This document outlines some best practices for creating incident specific objectives (February 2019)

USFS Fire Response Protocols; 7 Standards for Managing Incident Risk & WFDSS

The system for wildfire decision analysis currently required by the USFS is WFDSS which is based on a deliberative risk process. This document is designed to assist you in understanding the processes that exist and how they cross-walk to the Seven Standards for Managing Incident Risk (Chief's 2015 FS Wildland Fire Response Protocol) and WFDSS. Click here to see the entire document.


Forest Service Agency Administrator Certification

In 2019 a new Agency Administrator certification process was adopted for fire management. Separate certifications are required for managing wildfires and prescribed fires. Details of the certification process can be found in Chapter 5 of the Red Book. This new process includes the completion of a taskbook similar to those required for other fire positions. The Agency Administrator taskbook, Pathways charts, and qualifications crosswalk describing the required training and experience for wildland and prescribed fire can be downloaded below.

USFS Agency Admin Taskbook
Prescribed FIre Pathways Diagram
Wildfire Pathways Diagram
Redbook AA Qualifications Crosswalk
AA Certification Guidance / FAQs
Line Officer Experience Form

WFDSS Refresher Training

Training Recommendations

This document is a reference for individuals putting together annual WFDSS training refreshers for Agency Administrator; the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book) Appendix N recommends a 2 hour refresher. The training recommendations provided in this document are not new but highlight the important topics and what is available.

Check out more videos on our YouTube Channel

Agency Administrator Refreshers Objectives

  • Define the Agency Administrator role in decision making and documentation.
  • Identify areas an Agency Administrator should focus on in WFDSS.
  • Discuss the Risk and Complexity Analysis in WFDSS.
  • Review decision tools and how they can inform decisions.

  • 2019 Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher

    Fire Decision Links 2019
    AC overview for Agency Administrators 2019
    WFDSS Need to Know 2019
    RMAT Strategic Planning 2019
    Wildland Fire Decision Support Tools 2019
    Incident Objectives Guidance 2019

    Watching this video serves as a 1-hour WFDSS refresher for 2019, but you must document this at your local unit as needed; WFDSS or the WFM RD&A do not provide certificates for watching videos. This was 1-hour when presented "live" but was edited down to 45 minutes by removing pauses. It still counts as an hour (you're welcome)!

    2018 Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher
    2018 Agency Administrator Transcripts

    2017 Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher
    2017 Agency Administrator Web Reference Links

    2016 Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher
    download slides as a .pdf file

    2016 Decision Making in WFDSS for Agency Administrators download slides as a .pdf file