Basic Forest Fire Suppression Course - Online Lessons


1.5 Organizational Requirements

The size of the organization will depend on the level of build up which can be a product of the geographical area (size of the fire) and functional needs (resources required). Not every fire will require all the positions in the organizational chart. The large majority of fires which occur in Nova Scotia are contained within 1.0 ha. and will not require more than two crews and an IC. In the case of a fire that escapes initial control measures, the level of build up will depend on a variety of circumstances that influence fire growth. Weather conditions, values at risk, terrain, fuel conditions, resource availability and many other factors contribute to the decisions that need to be made regrading suppression plans for the operational period.

The principle factor that guides the level of build up is based on span of control (the number of resources that one can effectively manage). When a fire reaches a point where there are 5 to 7 crews on the fire line and more are required, the span of control for an IC has been exceeded and another position will be required to manage smaller groups. Sector Leader positions will be activated to supervise up to 5 crews and provide direction for each. Sector leaders will report directly to the IC at this point. If the fire continues to grow, so will the level of build up and this will include the other functions (Command, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Admin).

Build Up Level

In this example, a fire has already made a 5 kilometer run (from point of origin to the head) and burned an area of ± 400.00 ha. Crews are going to be used to establish a fire break with the assistance of heavy equipment at the front. In order to manage resources without exceeding span of control, the fire perimeter has been broken down in the following manner: Sector A has 3 hose line crews; Sector B has 5 hose line crews; and Sector C will utilize a dozer group to establish a fire break. Every fire is unique, and will require some thought about the best method of suppression activities. Regardless of the resources being utilized, SPAN OF CONTROL must always determine the level of build up.


This completes Lesson 1- Fireline Organization

Proceed to the Quiz 1