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Fire Manager Position Descriptor

One who applies fire management principles and practices for the protection and enhancement of the wildland environment. a fire manager integrates fire-related environmental, social, economic, and technological information into land management activities to meet desired objectives. The position initiates most actions based upon his/her experience in and knolwedge of the functional responsibilities. Supervisor provides direction of work assignments in terms of broad mission and objectives concerning major policy and administrative matters.

I. Program Management


This competency element identifies the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required for providing leadership and coordination in all facets of the fire management program, including policy compliance, budget development, personnel management, interagency relations, and monitoring and evaluation of mission accomplishment.


1. Develop, implement and evaluate program goals and objectives in support of mission accomplishment.
2. Develop, implement and evaluate fiscal activities.
3. Supervision and development of employees.
4. Agency and interagency relations development and maintenance.
5. Program monitoring, evaluation, implementaion of corrective actions.
6. Identifying research needs and applying new technologies.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Professional knowledge of naturl resource management concepts, principles, and practices applicable to the full range of duties associated with fire management.

Expert knowledge of the ecological response to the presence or absence of fire.

Expert knowledge of wildfire protection and fire use techniques, methods, and procedures.

Knowledge of fire suppression/prescribed fire tools and equipment.

Knowledge of agency and interagency fire business management practices and procedures.

Ability to predict and interpret ecological, social, and political responses to fire or its absence, and apply sound fire management principles and practices.

Comprehensive knowledge of agency financial regulations, policy, and guidelines.

Extensive knowledge of agency financial management system, contracting, procurement, and payroll.

Ability to develop, implement and monitor fire management budget.

Comprehensive knowledge of the policies and process of personnel management.

Extensive knowledge of the systems, methods and techniques of personnel motivation, development, organization, supervision, and evaluation of staff, to emphasize accountability.

Wokring knowledge of process and sources of training, agency/interagency qualifications and certification standards and procedures.

Ability to apply sound personnel management skills, to include supervision, coaching, training, motivation, and evaluation.

Knowledge of cooperating agencies' mission, organization and operating procedures.

Knowledge and understanding of related fields, such as: forestry, range, recreation, wildlife, soil, air, water.

Ability to interact as a fully functional member of internal/external teams.

Knowledge of development of cooperative agreements, Memoranda of Understanding and Memoranda of Agreement.

Ability to develop coopertive agreements, Memoranda of Understanding and Memoranda of Agreement.

Knowledge of national cooperative programs such as Cooperative Forest Fire Protection and Federal Excess Property Procurement.

Knowledge of organization and function of cooperating interagency fire organizations, such as National Wilfire Coordinating Group, National Interagency Coordination Center, Georgraphic Area Coordinating Group, state and local groups.

Knowledge and understanding of relationships between environmental, social, economic, political and resource management requirements.

Comprehensive knowledge of program monitoring and evaluation process and procedures.

Working knowledge of reporting requirements and procedures.

Ability to monitor and evaluate Fire Management Program elements and detemine their effectiveness in meeting management goals and objectives.

Ability to apply corrective actions to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.

Working knowledge of research process (issue identification, prospectus, funding, oversight, etc.).

Knowledge of existing fire research information databases (Fire Effects Information System, Internet, Fire Base, WestForNet, etc.).

Knowledge of fire suppression/prescribed fire computer program, such as Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, WIMS, BEHAVE, etc.

Ability to identify and define fire related management issues.

Determine if the knowledge is available to resolve the issue. If not, develop research recommendations.

Ability to apply new and existing technology in fire management activities.

Ability to effectively interact with the public and media.

II. Fire Use and Fuels


1. Fuel Modification
2. Smoke Management
3. Fire Effects
4. Monitoring and Analysis of Data

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of fire effects as it relates to fuel manipulation and prescribed fire.

Understanding of various smoke management regulations including EPA, state and local and Agency specific.

Ability to analyze data to ensure that prescribed fire and fuels manipulation projects meet management objectives.

Comprehensive knowledge of fire use and fuels management principles and practices.

III. Planning


This competency element requires a thorough background and understanding of the overall land and fire management planning process, sufficient to lead or participate as an interdisciplinary team member in the development of:

Unit Level Land Management Plan

Unit Level Fire Management Plan - these plans could include: Aviation, prevention, prescribed fire, fuels manaement, step-up/preplanned dispatch, pre-attack, etc.

Annual Operating Plan - these plans could include prevention/public and media contacts, preparedness, emergency equipment rental agreements, mobilization, Memoranda of Understanding and cooperative agreements.

Project Plans - these plans could include management ignited and prescribed natural fire project plans, other fuels modification plans, project level aviation plans, etc.


1. Environmental laws, regulations and policies
2. Agency enabling laws, regulations and policies
3. Agency mission
4. Agency interdisciplinary planning process
5. Individual plan components

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of environmental laws, regulations, and policies including the National Environmental Policy Act.

Knowledge of agency specific policies sufficient to participate in the development of land use plans and operational plans.

Knowledge and ability to lead or participate in the interdisciplinary planning process.

Knowledge of components of required plans under area of responsibility.

Ability to write operational plans, which may include the following:

1. Fire Management Plans
2. Annual Operating Plans
3. Preparedness Plans
4. Prescribed Fire Plans
5. Aviation Plans
6. Training Plans
7. Safety Plans
8. Prevention Plans
9. Pre-attack Plans
10. Individual Project Plan

IV. Operations


This competency element requires a thorough comprehension of operational program components sufficient to achieve land management objectives established for the unit. Operational components include presuppression, prevention, fuels, and prescribed fire, and aviation.


A. Presuppression
1. Detection
2. Preparedness
3. Agreements
4. Fire Danger/Behavior Prediction
5. Severity Request
6. Dispatching

B. Suppression
1. Strategy and Tactics
2. Incident Management
3. Emergency Rehabilitation
4. Logistics/Support
5. Priority setting and coordination
6. Reporting

C. Prevention
1.Implement mitigation activities identified in the prevention plan.

D. Fuels and Prescribed Fire
1.Management and implementation of fuels management projects
2.Management and implementation of prescribed fire activities
3.Priority setting/coordination

E. Aviation
1.Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations
2.Tactical application of aircraft
3.Aviation Safety Management

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

A. Presuppression

Knowledge of aerial and land-based detection systems and technologies sufficient to develop and implement an efficient and effective detection program.

Ability to implement pre-season preparedness activities as identified in annual operating plan. Includes ability to perform readiness evaluation checklists, and initiate corrective actions.

Ability to recognize conditions which warrant severity requests and ability to initiate.

Knowledge of current fire weather, fire danger and fire behavior prediction systems and their interpretation: ability to implement staffing and preparedness plans based on prediction outputs.

Knowledge of pre-season agreements necessary to ensure adequate resources are available during periods of potential use.

Knowledge of local, regional, and national dispatch and coordination systems and procedures, including preparedness levels; ability to manage local dispatch operations in compliance with established procedures.

B. Suppression

Knowledge of the Incident Command System component of the National Interagency Incident Management System.

Knowledge of wildland and urban intermix fire suppression strategies and tactics.

Knowledge of appropriate suppression responses to include minimum impact suppression tactics.

Ability to recognize changing conditions, develop alternative strategies and take appropriate action.

Ability to set priorities between multiple incidents and allocate resources.

Knowledge of procedures used in providing direction to incident management teams, including but not limited to development of Escaped fire Situation Analyses, incident objectives, Delegation of Authority, interaction, evaluation, and close-out/critique.

Ability to support the Agency Administrator in the successful management of one or more incidents from initial attack through transitions to higher or lower levels of management.

Knowledge of incident planning processes.

Ability to provide required logistical support to all levels of incident management.

Knowledge of agency emergency rehabilitation policy, procedures and techniques; ability to ensure appropriate implementation of emergency rehabilitation measures.

Knowledge of fire behavior, fire danger and fire weather.

Knowledge of and ability to document daily fire activity, large fire activity, final fire package, financial obligtions, etc.

Knowledge of agency and interagency mobilization policies and procedures.

Ability to perform duties under stressful and adverse operating conditions, such as long hours, heavy workloads, emergency situations, adverse working and environmental conditions.

C. Prevention

Ability to implement mitigation measures to reduce risks identified in an approved fire prevention plan.

D. Fuels and Prescribed Fire

Ability to implement approved fuels management and prescribed fire plans.

Ability to set priorities between multiple projects and allocate resources.

Knowledge of fire weather, fire behavior and fire danger.

Ability to provide required logistical support to one or more concurrent projects.

Knowledge of Agency requirements and ability to document project daily status, fire behavior and effects financial obligations, etc.

E. Aviation Safety

Kowledge of capabilities, limitation, and approved safety standards and operating procedures or commonly used fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

Knowledge of and ability to safety and efficiently utilize aviation resources in a unit's fire operations.

Ability to ensure management of aircraft utilized in unit's fire operations are conducted in a safe and efficient manner, following established standards.

Knowledge of and ability to obtain compliance with established personnel safety requirements, such as training, personal protective equipment, determination of payloads, manifesting, flight following, crash/rescue response, etc.

Knowledge of aviation administration requirements and procedures, such as contract solicitation, awarding and administration, fiscal accounting, etc.

V. Safety


This competency requires a thorough knowledge of the environmental and workplace hazards of the wildland fire environment. It focuses on the manager's ability to provide leadership and direction to subordinates in the recognition and mitigation of hese hazards using all applicable laws, policies, and guidelines. Instilling a passion for safety, zero tolerance for unsafe acts, and personal accountability is paramount.


A. Law, Policy, Guidelines
1. Occupational Safety and Health Act
2. Applicable State Safety Regulations
3. Department and Agency Policy and Guidelines
4. NWCG Guidelines

B. Education
1. Training
2. Certification

C. Hazard and Risk Analysis
1. Wildland Fire Environment
a. Fuels
b. Weather
c. Topography
2. Associated Hazards
a. Aviation
b. Mechanized Equipment
c. Hazardous Materials
d. Other

D. Hazard and Risk Mitigation
1. Wildland Fire Management
2. Associated Hazards

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

In-depth knowledge and comprehension of the laws, policy and guidelines pertaining to safety such as the Code of Federal Regulations, National and Agency policy and guidelines, 10 Standard Fire Orders, 18 Watchout Situations, and other related fire safety guidelines.

Advanced skill and ability in imparting a professional passion for safety through the effective use of educational and certication processes.

Skills in conducting hazard and risk analysis for complex fire situations utilizing advanced fire behavior prediction skills, resulting in strategy and tactics thamitigate hazards but allow for the achievement of management goals and objectives without compromising safety.

Advanced knowledge and skills in recognition and mitigation of a variety of miscellaneous hazards encountered within the wildland fire environment and other work environments, i.e., aviation, mechanized equipment, and hazardous materials.

Knowledge of fire safety practices and procedures.

Ability to recognize and correct unsafe practices and conditions.

Knowledge of standard first aid procedures.

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies

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