Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program

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  The Program





To promote cultural change in the work force and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.


Leadership, or problems associated with its practice on the fireline, has been cited as a factor contributing to wildland fire accidents for many years. The importance of leadership on fires has been echoed time and again. In recent years the 1995 Findings from the Human Factors Workshop, the 1998 Wildland Firefighter Safety Awareness Study, and the 2004 US Fire Administration Firefighter Life Safety Summit have all identified leadership as an issue that wildland fire agencies need to address.

The members of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) have recognized that a strategy is needed for improving the ability to develop new leaders in wildland fire management. In September 2000, the NWCG Training Working Team commissioned an interagency task group to analyze the existing wildland fire training curriculum for leadership content, identify alternatives, and make recommendations. In February 2001 that task group provided their report to the Training Working Team. The report contained 14 specific recommendations regarding leadership development for wildland fire agencies. In November 2001, the NWCG gave the Training Working Team the approval to charter a committee to implement those 14 recommendations. In January 2002, the Leadership Committee of the Training Working Team began the process of implementing a Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.

Program Components

  • Formal curriculum path that provides leadership skills training at all stages of an individuals career. In conjunction with this training curriculum, leadership skills will be integrated into the NWCG Position Task Book performance assessment system.

  • Value set that supports principle-centered leadership actions in a high-risk work environment.

  • Non-traditional leadership development opportunities that allow individuals to strive for a higher performance level as a leader through self-directed continuous learning.

This program is sponsored by the participating agencies of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. The program components were developed by adapting "best practices" from a number of organizations that operate in high tempo work environments.


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