Response Types and Stages of Control

Incident Response types and Stages of Control are key operational terms within the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS). They are used to discuss and report on incidents, and to manage wildfires.

Starting in the 2017 fire season, the BCWS will be making adjustments to the terms it uses to describe Response types and Stages of Control. These changes align the BCWS’s terminology with that of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) and they reflect the direction that fire agencies are taking throughout the country. These changes to how we classify our incidents won’t alter how we do our business operationally, just how we define our Response types and Stages of Control.

By aligning with CIFFC and national standards, we will improve communications across provincial and international boundaries and assist fire management operations.

Table 1 shows the Response types that the BCWS will be referencing starting in the 2017 fire season. “Modified Response” was used in the 2016 season, but “Full Response” and “Monitored” are terms that are new to the BC Wildfire Service.

Table 1: Fire Response types

2017 season onwards

Definition of new response type

Full Response

The wildfire requires immediate initial attack and/or sustained suppression action until the fire is declared “out”.

Modified Response

The wildfire is managed using a combination of suppression techniques, including direct and indirect attack, and monitoring to steer, contain or otherwise manage fire activity within a pre-determined perimeter (to minimize costs and/or damage and to maximize benefits from the fire).

Monitored

The wildfire is observed and assessed to determine the appropriate response option to minimize social disruption and/or significant impacts on values and resources, while achieving beneficial ecological, economic or resource management objectives.

Table 2 shows the Stages of Control that the BCWS will be referencing starting in the 2017 fire season, as well as descriptions of terms used during the 2016 season. Please note that the terms “Mop-up” and “Patrol” will no longer be used, since they are phases of Initial Attacks and Expanded Attacks that help transition a wildfire from “Out of Control” to “Under Control”.

Table 2: Fire Stages of Control

2017 season onwards

Definition of new Stage of Control

2016 season

Out of Control

Describes a wildfire that is not responding (or only responding on a limited basis) to suppression action, such that the perimeter spread is not being contained.

In 2016, the terms “Initial Attack” and "Expanded Attack"  were used to describe this situation.

Being Held

Indicates that (with the resources currently committed to the fire) sufficient suppression action has been taken that the fire is not likely to spread beyond existing or predetermined boundaries under the prevailing and forecasted conditions.

In 2016, the terms “Expanded Attack” and "Mop up" were used to describe this situation.

Under Control

The fire has received sufficient suppression action to ensure no further spread of the fire.

In 2016, the terms “100% contained” and "Patrol" were used to describe this situation.

Out

The fire has been extinguished.

“Out”


If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact your local Fire Information officer.  

Share Button