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 the National Forest Service Line Officer Team (LOT) and was developed by the WFM RD&A with recommendations from Agency Administrators and Line Officers.

Document Downloads
Line Officer Desk Guide (.pdf - updated 4/30/18)
2019 Wildland Fire Season NPS Letter of Intent
2018 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
Cost Share Agreement Template
Example Turn Back Standards & Mopup Guidelines
All forms and templates are PDF documents

National Line Officer Team

Click here to learn more about the National Line Officer Team.

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 (off of this webpage not sure how to state this) or they are included in the RedBook - Appendix D - Agency Administrator's Briefing to Incident Management Team, and Appendix G - Sample Delegation of Authority AA to IMT, and Leaders Intent.

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.


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.

Forest Service Agency Administrator Certification

A coaching/mentoring program was initiated in 2007 to provide on-the-ground experience for an Agency Administrators. This program is now referred to as the Coach/Shadow Program. The program has evolved substantially; shadowing opportunities are essential for preparing Line Officers to act as Agency Administrators during wildland fires or other critical incidents.  The Coach-Shadow program provides Agency Administrators lacking fire experience the opportunity to perform as an Agency Administrator, with the oversight of a coach as an advisor. Under the guidance of a coach, an Agency Administrator will learn to apply policy and classroom training to an actual large and/or complex wildfire incident. If you have questions or comments regarding the certification program please contact:

Guidance currently being updated.

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


  • 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