Reference & Guidance


This page includes a short list of documents, references, and guidance pertaining to wildfire decision support. The list is meant to be dynamic in nature and we will be making efforts to continually update the content on the page. If you have useful documents and/or links that you would like to share with the wildland fire community please contact us and we will work to add things.

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.

WFDSS Related Documents

An important part of determining the Organization needed to manage the fire, is the Relative Risk Assessment (Part B of the Risk and Complexity Analysis (RCA)).Completing the Wildland Fire Management Risk and Complexity Assessment includes three parts. Part A- Firefighter Safety Assessment, Part B - Relative Risk Assessment, and Part C - the Organization. For more information in determining ratings for Part B - Relative Risk Assessment and Part C - Organization, click here for a document providing guidance on this analysis.

WFDSS Incident Groups and Decisions - This document explains the benefits and drawbacks of complexing fires for decisions, click here to read more.

In rare cases the Wildland Fire Decision Support System may be unavailable, in these instances a paper WFDSS is available here.

Creating Incident Specific Objectives in WFDSS This document outlines some best practices for creating incident specific objectives (February 2019)

Wildland Fire Decision Support Tools Document

Numerous support tools for intelligence gathering and analyses are readily available to aid fire managers and administrators in making risk informed decisions. The tools described in this document range from simple and quick tools that are informational or only require basic fire behavior knowledge to run, to more complex programs that demand a high level of technical expertise to input, run, and calibrate.This is clearly a limited list however it will hopefully give you a place to start when looking for effective decision support tools. click here to open and view the full document.

NWCG Memos

  • NWCG #005-2012 WFDSS and Role of IMTs

  • NWCG #012-2011 WFDSS Decision Documentation

  • NWCG #015-2013 Memorandum Memo outlining the adoption and release of the NWCG Risk and Complexity Assessment.

  • NWCG #015-2013 Risk and Complexity Assessment NWCG risk & complexity analysis for wildfires for 2014.

  • NWCG #14-019 NWCG Official Memo for Revision of Risk and Complexity Assessment NWCG revision of 2014 risk & complexity analysis for 2015

  • NWCG #16-024 NWCG Data Management Standards for Incident Complexes and Merged Wildfires NWCG guidance August 2016

  • Data Management for Incidents Managed as a Complex and Wildfires that merge Data Management Committee Task Team, Report and Recommendations, May 2016

  • NWCG #18-001 NWCG Official Memo for NFDRS 2016 Release Announcement of the NFDRS 2016 rollout and associated transition from 1978 & 1988 NFDRS.