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Creating a Planning Area

An area an Incident Owner or Editor defines on the landscape that includes all the land a fire might burn during the life of a decision; it includes the area used for analysis and planning to manage a fire.

Planning areas help you to establish an area of interest around an incident. They determine which FMUs are contained or partially contained by the planning area, and subsequently, which preloaded strategic objectives and management requirements need to be addressed when developing incident objectives and requirements. Planning areas should be large enough to include the following:

Planning areas are required for documenting a decision and are different from a WFSA boundary or WFIP Maximum Manageable Area, two outdated and no longer used concepts. By limiting the planning area to just where you think a fire might go, you are limiting the decision support capability of the application.

Drawing a large planning area may incorporate more FMUs, which in turn may require you to address more strategic objectives, management requirements, and values at risk, but if your planning area is too small, you will have to create a new decision each time management actions occur outside of the existing planning area. It's helpful to use an FSPro probability output as a general guide when trying to determine an appropriate planning area size. Doing this will ensure that the Values at Risk identified by an FSPro output are included in the Values Inventory (a product of the planning area), and addressed in the Incident Objectives. If your FSPro outputs are larger than your planning area, your planning area is too small.

No ramifications result from drawing a large planning area, and it is helpful to use an FSPro probability output to inform you of where the fire may try to move. If you are currently planning management action points or contingency plans outside of your planning area, you are planning outside of your planning area. Your planning area should be larger to include those areas.

WFDSS user roles (Viewer, Dispatcher, Author, GA Editor, National Editor, and Data Manager) can optionally subscribe to planning area notifications for one or more units. When you draw a planning area and create a pending (but not published) decision, WFDSS users who have subscribed to planning area notifications are notified. These individuals received emails for each unit(s) they subscribed to, and were included in the planning area when it was drawn.

See About Planning Areas for further information.

Last updated on 9/16/2016 11:22:54 AM.

To create a planning area:

CAUTION: If you upload unit shapes after drawing your planning area for an incident, you will need to redraw the planning area.

  1. From the Incident List, select an incident.
  2. Click Assess Situation. The map appears with the selected incident marked and centered on the map.
  3. To select the map layers you want to view and to see map legends, click the Map tab.
  4. Click the + sign next to the Incident map layer to expand the tree view.
  5. Select either the Polygon Draw Polygon Icon or Rectangle Draw Rectangle Icon tool.
  6. Place your cursor on the map where you want to start drawing.
  7. Hold down the Shift key as you drag the mouse around the area you want to include, then double-click to release the tool. (You can also move the mouse and click once for each point you want to add to the polygon.) The shape appears as a yellow shaded area.
  8. Click the Green circle + symbol to the right of the Planning Area layer to expand the view.
  9. Click Save. The temporary shape name changes to Current, and the outline of the shape turns purple.

Last updated on 9/16/2016 11:22:54 AM.

In This Section

Maps and Shapes

To create a planning area:

See Also

About Maps

Using the Map View

About Shapes

About Analysis Shape Files (STFB, NTFB, FSPro)

Deleting Shapes

Drawing Shapes on the Map

About Planning Areas

Subscribing to Planning Area Notifications

Drawing a Landscape Extent

Querying the Landscape Data

Creating a Barrier

Creating an Analysis Ignition File

Merging Two Shapes

Uploading Shapes

Creating a Landscape Mask

About Images

Uploading Images

Capturing Map Images

Downloading National Data Layers

Downloading Incident Shapes

Downloading Fire Perimeters

Viewing Shapes

Viewing Unit Shapes on a Map

Viewing, Copying or Downloading Feature Information

Copying Feature Information

Downloading Feature Information

Viewing Smoke Dispersion Information

Viewing the Fire Danger Rating Graph

Saving Fire Danger Rating Graphs to Incident Content

Viewing Strategic Objectives


Field Descriptions

Glossary Resources

Spatial Data Reference

Landscape Data Source Reference

Relative Risk Reference

Organization Assessment Reference

Fire Behavior Reference

About the WFDSS Decision Editors