Fire Safety
Photo Archive

1.  Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.

2.  Know what your fire is doing at all times.

3.  Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.

4.  Identify escape routes and safety zones, and make them known.

5.  Post lookouts when there is possible danger.

6.  Be alert.  Keep calm.  Think clearly.  Act decisively.

7.  Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.

8.  Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood.

9.  Maintain control of your forces at all times.

10.  Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.

1.  Fire not scouted and sized up.

2.  In country not seen in daylight.

3.  Safety zones and escape routes not identified.

4.  Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.

5.  Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.

6.  Instructions and assignments not clear.

7.  No communication link with crewmembers or supervisor.

8.  Constructing line without safe anchor point.

9.  Building fireline downhill with fire below.

10.  Attempting frontal assault on fire.

11.  Unburned fuel between you and fire.

12.  Cannot see main fire; not in contact with someone who can.

13.  On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.

14.  Weather becoming hotter and drier.

15.  Wind increases and/or changes direction.

16.  Getting frequent spot fires across line.

17.  Terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.

18.  Taking a nap near fireline.


  • Experienced/Competent/Trusted
  • Enough lookouts at good vantage points
  • Knowledge of crew location
  • Knowledge of escape and safety locations
  • Map/Weather Kit/Watch/IAP


  • Radio frequencies confirmed
  • Backup and check-ins established
  • Update on any situation change
  • Sound alarm early, not late

Escape Routes

  • More than one escape route
  • Avoid uphill escape routes
  • Scouted:  Loose soils/rocks/vegetation
  • Timed:  Slowest person/fatigue and temperature factors
  • Marked:  Flagged for day or night (NFES 0566)
  • Evaluate:  Escape time vs. rate of spread
  • Vehicles parked for escape

Safety Zones

  • Survivable without a fire shelter
  • Back into a clean burn
  • Natural Features:  Rock areas/water/meadows
  • Constructed Sites:  Clearcuts/roads/helispots
  • Scouted for size and hazards
  • Upslope? = more heat impact = larger safety zone
  • Heavy fuels? = more heat impact = larger safety zone

Step One--Situation Awareness

  • Gather Information:  Objectives, Previous Fire Behavior, Communication, Weather Forecast, Who's in Charge, Local Factors
  • Scout the Fire

Step Two--Hazard Assessment

  • Eliminate Potential Fire Behavior Hazards:  Look Up, Down and Around Indicators
  • Identify Tactical Hazards:  Watch-Outs
  • What other safety hazards exist?
  • Consider severity vs. probability.

Step Three--Hazard Control

  • Firefighting Orders --> LCES Checklist -- MANDATORY:  Anchor Point, Downhill Checklist
  • What other controls are necessary?

Step Four--Decision Point

  • Are controls in place for identified hazards?  NO Reassess  YES Next question
  • Are selected tactics based on expected fire behavior?  NO Reassess   YES Next question
  • Have instructions been given and understood?  NO  Reassess   YES Next question

Step Five--Evaluate

  • Self:  Low experience level with local factors? 
  • --Distracted from primary tasks?
  • --Fatigue or stress reaction?
  • --Hazardous attitude?
  • The Situation:  What is changing?
  • --Are strategy and tactics working?