top of page

Crew Boss Job Description


The Crew Boss leads a hand crew and is responsible for their safety on wildland and prescribed fire incidents. The CRWB supervises assigned crewmembers and reports to a Strike Team/Task Force Leader or other assigned supervisor. The CRWB works in the Operations functional area.


Must be able to pass the work capacity fitness test (Must carry a 45 lb pack for 3 miles within 45 minutes). Failure to meet any of the required medical qualifications will disqualify you for employment. Any condition, which would cause you to be a hazard to yourself or to others, will disqualify you for employment.


To qualify for Crew Boss, you must meet at least one of the following:

  • 1 year of specialized work experience equivalent to the crew member level duties. Examples include on-the-line wildland fire experience in forest/range fire control, prevention or suppression work; operating and maintaining specialized wildland fire tools/equipment/vehicles and may include leading crewmembers.

- OR -

  • 1 year of graduate level education directly related to the position.

- OR -

  • a combination of education and experience that is directly related to the work of the position.

Prepare & Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.

  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.

  • Travel to and check in at assignment.

  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Assemble and validate readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.

  • Confirm crew meets English language/crew language requirements.

  • Ensure that IAP or relevant plan lists correct crew status. Report any corrections up chain of command.

  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, risk management processes, and radio frequency management. 

  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisors and subordinates.

  • Participate in operational briefings as directed.

  • Obtain and distribute IAPs, other relevant plans, maps, and local area information.

  • Brief assigned personnel using IAP and/or IRPG briefing checklist

Lead, Supervise, Direct

  • Model leadership values and principles. Provide positive influence. Emphasize teamwork.

  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.

  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.

  • Adjust actions based on changing information and evolving situation awareness. Develop and implement contingency plans. Communicate changing conditions to assigned resources and supervisor.

  • Ensure incident objectives and performance standards are met.

  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.

Perform Crew Boss-Specific Duties

  • Effectively lead Crew Operations:

    • Determine appropriate fireline tactics, including indirect and direct attack strategies.

    • Properly locate fireline and determine appropriate fireline construction methods necessary to stop fire spread. Ensure completion to acceptable standards.

    • Supervise water handling logistics and operations for crew (e.g. portable pumps, hoses, fold-a-tanks).

    • Supervise felling operations, including appropriate snag mitigation.

    • Prepare control lines for burnout operations.

    • Plan, direct, and supervise firing operations.

    • Scout line in critical areas and patrol fireline for spot fires and slop overs. Coordinate and communicate issues with adjoining forces.

    • Supervise mop-up and suppression repair efforts on assigned portion of line.

  • Ensure proper refurbishing and resupply of tools, vehicles, food, water and supplies.

  • Verify driver/operator qualifications and ensure adherence to vehicle safety procedures when transporting personnel, fuel and equipment.

Perform Fireline Duties

  • Recon area of responsibility and assess feasibility of assigned objectives. Consult with supervisor on resource needs and suggest adjustments as necessary.  

  • Develop and implement tactics based on incident objectives, fire behavior, risk assessment and leader's intent.

  • Organize and deploy assigned resources based on established objectives and resource capabilities. 

  • Coordinate travel to and from fireline (e.g., travel routes, communication procedures, accountability). Ensure adherence to vehicle safety procedures. Identify ingress and egress routes. Consider bridge and road limits, equipment weight and length, and weather effects.

  • Request, direct, and provide feedback to aerial resources through established chain of command.

  • Provide status updates on conditions affecting operations, hazardous conditions, unresolved conflicts, air operations, etc. to supervisor.

  • Report special occurrences (e.g., structure/improved property loss or damage, accidents, sickness) to supervisor.

  • Through established chain of command, assist the responsible land management agency and/or assigned Resource Advisor, with the protection of natural, cultural and other resources. Communicate when such resources are discovered and document suppression impacts.

  • Establish accurate logistical needs for assigned resources using established ordering procedures.

  • Use maps, compass, Global Positioning System (GPS) and other tools and applications to gather information and navigate on incident.

  • Assign personnel to collect, document and report weather observations.

  • Provide situation update and accomplishments to supervisor and/or relief forces at end of shift. 

  • Contribute to the planning process by providing accurate information and recommendations through established chain of command.

Perform Wildland Urban Interface Duties

  • Conduct WUI operations according to guidelines stated in IRPG, incident-specific objectives and guidelines, and agency-specific guidance.

Communicate & Coordinate

  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information. 

  • Ensure clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across ICS functional areas and chain of command.

  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:

  • Support resources

  • Adjacent resources

  • Supervisor    

  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Use plain language and ICS terminology. 

  • Conduct and/or participate in After Action Reviews (AAR). 

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the IRPG:

    • Identify Hazards

    • Assess Hazards

    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions

    • Implement Controls

    • Supervise and Evaluate

  • Ensure Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are established and known to all firefighters before they are needed. Refer to guidelines stated in IRPG.    

  • Use Look Up, Down and Around in IRPG to help maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly. Develop and communicate contingency plans and trigger points.

  • Utilize Safety Officers to assist with risk management process and provide input into safety of operations.

  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure that assigned resources are prepared to execute the Medical Plan (ICS 206 WF). Ensure familiarity with medical responders, communication procedures, and transportation plan. Manage the medical emergency based on procedures stated in the IAP, the IRPG Medical Incident Report, or other relevant guidelines. 

  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of fatigue, illness, or injury. Mitigate appropriately.

  • Account for location, health, safety, and welfare of assigned personnel.

  • Submit accident/incident reports with pertinent forms (SAFECOM, SAFENET, agency specific forms) through established chain of command. 


Complete, authorize, ensure timeliness of, and route as required:

  • Crew Time Report (SF-261)

  • Incident Performance Evaluation (ICS 225 WF)

  • Contractor Performance Evaluation

  • General Message (ICS 213)

  • Activity Log (ICS 214)



  • Agency-specific forms


  • Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities. Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest driving standards are followed.

  • Return equipment and supplies to appropriate unit. 

  • Complete demobilization checkout process before being released from the incident.

  • Upon demobilization, report status to home unit including reassignment or ETA to home unit.

bottom of page