Revision to 1994 NWCG training
approved in September, 2003
NWCG POSITION PAPER
Training and Qualifications Requirements for Non-NWCG Entities
It is the position of NWCG that only qualified personnel are authorized
to participate in duties associated with wildland and prescribed fire
incidents, regardless of whether these personnel are NWCG members. It
is also the position of NWCG that consistent application of training and
qualification requirements is essential to the safety and health of all
With the expanded use of private sector contractors in wildland fire
suppression and prescribed fire, NWCG must revise the guidelines regarding
training, qualifications and certification for non-NWCG entities.
This NWCG position paper provides guidance to member agencies, non-member
agencies, private sector contractors and educational institutions to help
ensure fair and equitable application of the NWCG PMS 310-1 “Wildland
and Prescribed Fire Qualification and System Guide” (further referred
to as PMS 310-1).
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
NWCG requires that all contracts with private sector contractors include
provisions that ensure compliance with PMS 310-1 and this position statement.
This requirement does not effect local mutual aid agreements for initial
and extended attack operations.
1. For a course presentation to be considered as qualifying toward fulfilling
“required training” the instructor qualifications and presentation
standards must meet or exceed those outlined in NFES 2226, “NWCG
Course Coordinators Guide”. Any course presentation that does not
meet the presentation standards or instructor qualifications will be considered
as non-qualifying by NWCG member agencies. Any qualifications based on
the course would be considered invalid.
2. Any instructor or entity deleting NWCG training materials from a course
package cannot represent that course as an NWCG certified training course.
In addition, the course shall not be considered as fulfilling the “required
training” under PMS 310-1 standards.
3. The approved NWCG course completion certificate will only be issued
to students completing courses sponsored by NWCG members. Educational
institutions, contractor associations, and non-member agencies will not
utilize the NWCG course certificate. (Exceptions may occur under Section
4. A course certificate indicates an individual has completed classroom
requirements for a given position. Completion of classroom training does
not qualify an individual for a position.
B. POSITION CERTIFICATION
1. Proper use of performance based NWCG Position Task Books (PTB), as
outlined in the PTB instructions and Appendix “A” of PMS 310-1,
is required by all entities using PMS 310-1 standards to obtain recognition
of Fireline qualifications by NWCG member agencies.
2. As consistent with PMS 310-1, qualified evaluators should sign off
on individual tasks of a properly initiated and recognized trainee’s
Position Task Book, regardless of NWCG affiliation, membership, or agency.
3. NWCG member agencies will never certify the qualifications of private
contractors. Where formal agreements exist, NWCG member agencies can formally
recognize and acknowledge the training and qualifications of a contractor
as permissible and officially acceptable.
A. For purposes herein, "private contractors" includes private
sector individuals, companies or corporations who provide training, suppression
or prescribed fire services for financial reimbursement.
B. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) which specify training advisory
and support arrangements between NWCG members and “recognized contractor
associations” or other contractor entities are recommended. These
MOU's should be developed at the geographic coordinating group level.
C. Geographic Area Coordination Groups (GACG) entering into an MOU with
associations or contractors will authorize, through the agreement, the
association or contractor’s ability to certify the qualifications
of their employees. Through the MOU, the GACG will recognize contractor
qualifications as authentic for all wildland and prescribed fire positions
up to and including the Single Resource Boss level.
D. For a contractor association or contractor to gain the recognition
of the GACG as identified in II.C. above, the association or contractor
will provide to the GACG:
1. Written procedures explaining how all components of PMS 310-1 will
2. Written procedures to meet the guidelines of this position paper.
3. Written authorization permitting the GACG to annually review the procedures
and documentation of the association or contractor to insure compliance
with these guidelines.
4. Written explanation to the GACG regarding the association or contractors’
procedures to ensure quality control and monitoring of internal procedures
related to the training and certification process.
E. Contractor associations or individual contractors wishing recognition
and MOU eligibility will use the latest national MOU template included
in these guidelines as a means of complying with the requirements needed
III. PRIVATE TRAINING PROVIDERS
A. NWCG encourages member agencies, at the local level, to assist educational
institutions and other training provider businesses in an advisory and
support capacity. This will include the enforcement of the requirement
to insure that all "Wildland fire training” programs are consistent
with PMS 310-1, applicable laws, regulations and policies, and this position
statement. Programs can include both classroom and field performance-based
B. NWCG Member agencies will not certify private training provider instructors.
C. Educational institutions or private training provider businesses will
not certify qualifications of students. They only will have the authority
to coordinate, administer and instruct training courses.
D. Educational institutions or private training provider businesses have
the authority to issue “certificates” of course completion
(not to be confused with the certification of qualifications), which bear
the logo or insignia of that institution or company.
E. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) to formalize training advisory
and support arrangements between NWCG members and private training providers
are recommended. These MOU's should be developed at the local level with
private training providers, and at a geographic area coordinating group
level with educational consortiums.