USFS Fire Suppression: Foundational Doctrine
Sen. Maria Cantwell's April, 2005 statement on:
me open with a quote I like from Dee Hock (Visa founder): ‘Simple
clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior.
Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple stupid behavior.’
We are focused on defining those simple clear principles that will
encourage complex intelligent behavior.”
National Director of Fire and Aviation Management
June 6, 2005
Six key areas of the doctrine:
“Doctrine is the body of principles (not rules) that guides an organization’s activities and actions. A principle is the moral or ethical standard that forms the foundation of judgment, mode of action, decision, and behavior. Doctrine is the expression of the fundamental framework, concepts, and principles that guide the planning and conduct of operations. It is authoritative but flexible. Doctrine must be definitive enough to guide specific operation, yet adaptable enough to address diverse and varied situations.”
June 6, 2005
Over the past several years we have seen a tremendous increase in expectations—both internally and externally—placed upon our wildland fire fighters. Fire management complexities have propelled this evolution of today's fire environment onto a critical path.
"Rules are those decisions you would not leave to the discretion of your best firefighter"
Though the environment and the mission of the wildland fire fighter is demanding increased agility in decision making, the fire fighters' ability to adapt and react has become more constrained. Fire line performance expectations have become increasingly rules-driven at the expense of addressing the fundamental human factors that lead to critical decision errors, delayed judgments, and improper actions.
The difference between good and bad outcomes often depends on fire organization leaders, senior and junior, who can and will best focus their efforts on fighting the fire. Firefighting is about thinking creatively and acting decisively. Knowing why we fight fire and the concepts and ideas that guide our actions, not rules or prescriptions for action, provides the bedrock of our fire suppression philosophy.
The following pages express our foundational doctrine for fighting wildland fire and cooperating with our partners. It provides foundational firefighting principles for exercising authority by fire managers, incident commanders, subordinate leaders, and fire fighters. It describes how to think about the conduct of firefighting and applies to all Forest Service personnel.
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