Policy development is a vital part of wildland fire management. Policy describes overall intent and purpose for the wildland fire program. Having clear direction leads to a safer work environment for firefighters and promotes integration of fire management activities with other land management objectives. Policy is developed both at the interagency level to provide consistency across agency boundaries as well as within the NPS to provide integration with other NPS program areas.

NPS Policy Resources

Director's Order #18: Wildland Fire Management

This Director's Order states the basic principles and strategic guidelines governing the management of wildland fire by the NPS. It expands on guidance contained in Section 4.5 of NPS Management Policies 2006, and incorporates Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy. Information in the Director's Order supersedes previously issued instructions, requirements, and statements of policy relating to NPS wildland fire management.

Reference Manual 18: Wildland Fire Management

The Reference Manual contains the most detailed and comprehensive instructions for implementing servicewide wildland fire management programs for the National Park Service. The manual provides NPS field employees legal references, operating policies, standards, procedures, general information, recommendations, and examples to assist them in carrying out NPS Management Policies and the Director's Order. The document is intended to be read in its entirety as there are interrelationships among the chapters.

To download the pdf file and utilize tabs within the document, right click [or Ctrl+click on Mac] on the link above and choose "Save … As." (5.5 mb)

Interagency Policy Resources

National Wildfire Coordinating Group

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) coordinates the efforts of federal and state wildfire management agencies to avoid duplication and to provide a means of constructively working together. The group provides a formalized system to agree upon standards of training, equipment, qualifications, and other operational functions. The NWCG website provides links to relevant interagency policies on prescribed fire, wildfire, and Interagency Standards for Fire and Aviation Operations (Red Book).

Guidance for Implementation of Federal Wildland Fire Policy 2009

This 2009 document contains the most current and authoritative statement of federal wildland fire policy. It was developed by the five federal interagency wildland fire agencies (NPS, FWS, BIA USFS and BLM), and is incorporated into each agency's policy and guidance. The policy builds on and updates earlier reviews and policy statements including the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Policy and the 1996 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review Implementation Action Plan Report.

Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)

The Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (also known as the Red Book) provides concise and up-to-date policy references and operational supplements for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service fire and aviation programs. The Red Book is updated and published annually. If there is a discrepancy between guidance found in the Red Book and Director's Order or Reference Manual 18, information contained in the Red Book will be considered authoritative as updates occur on a more frequent cycle than either the DO or RM.