Wildland Fire Decision Support System

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WFDSS Background

Over the past 30 years, fires have dramatically increased in size and complexity, often stretching the capacity of the management systems in place. The Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) project evolved from the need to streamline and improve these decision-making processes, as well as take advantage of improvements in technology, fire modeling, and geospatial analysis.

The former system, Wildland Fire Situation Analysis (WFSA) has been around for 30 years with little change, has become cumbersome to use, and is not scalable or flexible enough for today’s fire management needs.

In June 2005, the National Fire and Aviation Executive Board chartered WFDSS to replace WFSA in 2009 with a system that has the following capabilities:

WFDSS will also replace the Wildland Fire Implementation Plan (WFIP) and Long-Term Incident Planning (LTIP) processes.

WFDSS has the following advantages over the existing systems:

Last updated on 7/23/2010 4:17:09 PM.

WFDSS Timeline

Figure 1: WFDSS Timeline



June 2005

National Fire and Aviation Executive Board charters WFDSS Phase I

April 2006

Initial planning and requirements analysis completed

October 2006

Forest Services contracts with IBM to develop WFDSS system

June 2007

FSPro, RAVAR, and SCI WFDSS components available for testing on wildland fires

December 2007

FEC approves continued development of WFDSS for all five federal fire agencies

Winter/Spring 2008

Additional functionality and components added to system

June 2008

Second WFDSS prototype during fire season to test as replacement for WFSA, WFIP and LTIP

February-March 2009

Training Webinars begin

March 6, 2009

USFS Regional Leads designated

April 1, 2009

USFS Agency administrators authorized to use WFDSS for decision reporting

June 1, 2009

USFS Regions 3, 8, 9 complete transition to WFDSS for decision analysis and reporting

July 1, 2009

USFS Regions 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 complete transition to WFDSS for decision analysis and reporting

September 1, 2009

All USFS agency field units entering all unplanned wildland fires into WFDSS

Fall 2009 and beyond

Additional enhancements and maintenance will occur

Last updated on 9/27/2016 11:41:47 AM.

WFDSS User Roles

The following sections explain what each user type is allowed to do at the system level in WFDSS. To request additional user roles in Production or Training, contact your Geographic Area Editor. To change your privileges for a specific incident, contact the author of the incident or the geographic area editor.

The user roles of Dispatcher, Author, and Geographic Area Editor are mutually exclusive.

Note:Incident Privileges aredifferent than User Roles.Incident Privilegeare incident-specific and not dependent on the system-level roles described here (for example, owner and approver are incident-specific).


All users who have access to WFDSS have at least the following privileges, but cannot make changes to the WFDSS data unless they have incident- or analysis-specific privileges:

Last updated on 3/1/2011 5:23:51 PM.


Last updated on 5/21/2019 5:11:08 PM.


The Author role with editing privileges is oftentimes responsible for drafting decision content and button-pushing in WFDSS. The Author is not responsible for drafting all decision content, nor the reviewing/approving of a WFDSS decision. The Author role can complete any of the following tasks:

Last updated on 3/22/2017 12:41:49 PM.

Geographic Area Editor

The WFDSS Geographic Area Editor (GAE) role provides support to WFDSS users and incidents within their individual Geographic Areas (GA). GAEs have implicit ownership of incidents within their GAs, and serve as interagency technical experts and Geographic Area (GA) Point of Contacts for their agency or bureau.

GAEs from various agencies are typically designated within each GA. GAEs work cooperatively for the benefit of all users within their GA and are both able and expected to assist any caller from any agency within their GA.


GAE WFDSS Limitations:

Last updated on 1/19/2018 12:18:28 PM.

National Editor

Last updated on 6/16/2015 5:12:56 PM.

Fire Behavior Specialist and Super Analyst

These two roles served different purposes in the past but in 2018, were merged to share common privileges. Only one difference remains; Super Analysts can draw larger landscapes when the need arises.

Users requesting the Fire Behavior Specialist role should have previous fire behavior modeling experience, including evaluating and modifying landscape files, historic climate, and forecasted weather. These roles can:

Last updated on 8/27/2019 12:10:14 PM.

Data Manager

Last updated on 12/10/2010 12:08:19 AM.

Help Desk

The Help Desk performs the following tasks:

Last updated on 9/30/2011 10:05:32 AM.


Comprised of the WFDSS core team and developers.

Last updated on 3/12/2019 4:42:29 PM.