New ICS map symbology

Additions to the Incident Command System Standards for Geospatial Operations

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Updated April 27, 2022

ICS Symbology 2022
ICS Symbology 2022

(Updated April 27, 2022 to reflect the revisions for 2022)

You may have seen new symbols on wildfire maps this year. That is because the National Wildfire Coordinating Group approved new symbology again, this time for the 2022 fire season.

They were developed by the NWCG Data Management Committee and are now part of the Incident Command System Standards for Geospatial Operations. Many of the new symbols introduced in the last few years are for various types of fireline, such as Planned Hand Line, Planned Mixed Construction Line, Planned Road as Line, Planned Secondary Line, Temporary Flight Restriction, Foam Drop, Retardant Drop, Escape Route, plus — Structure Wrap, Retardant in Avoidance Area, UAS Launch and Recovery Zone, and many more.

Some of the new symbols will be fairly easy to remember. Others, not so much. A map in color will be necessary to easily differentiate a few of them, such as Fence vs. Other vs. Road Repair, and the three types of drops, Water, Foam, and Retardant. Most maps have legends to make the interpretation easier, and ArcGIS Pro has a filter to only display the features used on the map.

The image above is moderate resolution; a high-resolution pdf version (2.9 MB) can be downloaded.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Katei and Steve.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “New ICS map symbology”

  1. Having worked with these symbols in 2021 I’ve noticed a few missed symbols…those for structures, and type of structure. After all, we wouldn’t be engaging these fires as aggressively if there were no values at risk. (The value at risk symbol leaves to much to ponder)

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  2. I like that there is a “Management Action Point” symbol assuming it is what has been referred to as a “Decision Point.” I think Drop Point should have a DP in the blue box. I see hot spot and spot fire are the same; the arrow is now gone from the spot fire. I would imagine it would still include the time and date of occurrence.

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  3. Its unfortunate they did not take the opportunity to fix one symbol that causes confusion every year. That symbol is the Helispot symbol. The fix is simple. Changing the label to Approved Helispot. The confusion happens when a Div Sup. or Ops sends helispot coordinates that come from someone on the line to the Sit. Unit, who dutifully add it to the map, without the Helispot being approved by a helicopter manager as required for it to be used.

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