Basic Forest Fire Suppression Course - Online Lessons


1.4 Incident Commander

The Incident Commander (IC) is the person in charge of the fire and must be fully qualified to manage all activities. On a small fire it is their responsibility to coordinate the suppression effort and this will require that they perform multiple tasks. As the incident becomes more complex with larger numbers of fire fighters, the IC must delegate authority to other staff, in order to maintain span of control.

There will always be an Incident Commander on every fire, regardless of the size. Most Nova Scotia incidents are relatively small in nature (1.0 ha. or less), and require the services of one or two crews plus the IC. If the incident continues to grow, ultimate decisions are still made by the IC, however decisions that affect crew performance (example: hose placement, pump set up ...) will become the responsibility of the Crew Leader. Other sections within the organization will also assume responsibility for the decisions that will affect their performance while still maintaining a direct line of communication between the IC and the Section Chiefs. Ultimate decisions that affect overall performance are made by the IC. When the decision is made to declare a fire out, this can only be accomplished by the Incident Commander.