Tactical Decision Making course removed from NWCG curriculum — again

Yarnell Hill fire
Air Attack’s photo of the Yarnell Hill Fire at 7:24 p.m. on June 29, 2013, after it had been burning for 26 hours. The next day, June 30, the fire intensity increased dramatically, trapping and killing 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

The S-336 training course, Tactical Decision Making in Wildland Fire, has been removed from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group curriculum. Mark Jones, chair of the Operations and Training Committee, signed a document on October 14, 2015 discarding the course.

S-336 is no longer required for any position in the interagency Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide (PMS 310-1), however the U.S. Forest Service requires it for their Strike Team Leaders.

The Committee’s argument for eliminating Tactical Decision Making was that other courses have scenario-driven training, including S-230 (Crew Boss), S-231(Engine Boss), S-236 (Heavy Equipment Boss), S-330 (Strike Team Leader), and S-339 (Division/Group Supervisor).

S-336 was also removed in 1993 by the NWCG, citing tactical training that was included in S-230 and S-330. By 1999 it was reinstated  because “incident management personnel and trainers in incident management believed that S-336 was a valuable training tool”.

The original name of the course was Fire Suppression Tactics but in 2004 it was changed to Tactical Decision Making in Wildland Fire.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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One thought on “Tactical Decision Making course removed from NWCG curriculum — again”

  1. You’d think that more, not less scenario driven training the better. How did S336 go from being a valuable training tool to cancelled. Seems that firefighter safety is driven by tactical decision making. How many firefighters die from tactical related errors.
    Theres More high dollar aircraft coming out though. Does NWCG hAve its priorities straight?

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