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USFS Fire Suppression: Foundational Doctrine

Sen. Maria Cantwell's April, 2005 statement on:
Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2005

Ed Hollenhead's March, 2005 proposal:
The Review of Fire Suppression Doctrine for the USDA Forest Service

Jim Cook's June, 2004 analysis:
Trends in Wildland Fire Entrapment Fatalities

Jim Saveland's 1995 Wildfire article:
Creating a Passion for Safety vs. Management Oversight & Inspection

Professional Status:
The Future of Fire Service Training and Education

USMC Doctrine: Warfighting


Foundational Doctrine

June, 2005

Making It Happen

Reading and understanding the ideas in this publication are the initial steps on the path to becoming more creative and decisive leaders and fire fighters. The primary way a fire fighter becomes a fire leader is through training and education, both of which are firmly rooted in doctrine. Doctrine establishes the philosophy and practical framework for how we fight fire. Education develops the understanding, creativity, judgment, and the background essential for effective fire line leadership. Training follows doctrine and develops the tactical and technical proficiency that underlies all successful action. On-the-job training completes the picture by allowing individuals and groups to integrate their training and education, producing a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. The lessons we learn from training and operational experience then modify doctrine.

Doctrine establishes the fundamental beliefs of the Forest Service on the subject of fire suppression and how we practice our profession. Doctrine establishes a particular way of thinking about fire suppression and our way of fire suppression, a philosophy for leading fire fighters on the fire line, a mandate for professionalism, and a common language. Doctrinal development benefits from our collective experience and distills its lessons to further education and training.

Our doctrine within the Forest Service begins with the philosophy contained in our mission statement. This philosophy underlies publications that contain tactics, techniques, and procedures for specific functions. This body of thought helps form fire fighters and fire suppression leaders through its implementation in education and training.


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