Part 2: Implementation Difficulty

Figure 1: Implementation Difficulty Image

Implementation Difficulty_OA

Implementation Difficulty Guidance

The Implementation Difficulty is a measure of how the specific circumstances that may be associated with a particular fire combine to represent potential intricate implementation concerns. While many specific situational elements have been addressed by the Relative Risk, special functional concerns and the requirement to implement the course of action selected to meet the incident objectives and requirements are addressed here. This assessment area also allows opportunity for the Agency Administrator to identify local information in regard to historic fire duration, special needs and concerns, and potential tactical responses. Implementation Difficulty addresses:

functional concerns.

Potential Fire Duration

Evaluate the estimated length of time that the fire may continue to burn. Rank the element as low (short), moderate, or high (long). (Within the WFDSS system, this element is rated during the Relative Risk Assessment process and transferred to the Organizational Assessment.)

The following guidelines can help you determine an appropriate selection for potential fire duration:

Table 1: Determining Selection Values for Potential Fire Duration

N/A (Very Short)

Low (Short)


High (Long)

  • Fire is contained and there are very few or no threats to it breaching containment lines.
  • Fuel type or conditions, weather or time of year is limiting fire spread.
  • Fire is expected to persist for only a short time.
  • Fire spread is limited by fuel type or conditions, weather or time of fire season.
  • The probability of a season-ending or fire-ending event is increasing quickly.
  • Fire is expected to last for a moderate period of time requiring mid-term planning and actions.
  • Fuel type or condition, weather and time of season may support some fire spread.
  • Season ending event has not occurred and is not predicted to occur in the next few weeks.
  • Fire is expected to last for a long period of time requiring long term planning and continual management efforts.
  • Active fire spread is supported by fuel type and condition, weather, and time of year. Season ending event is not predicted to occur for a number of weeks or months.

Incident Strategies (Course of Action)

Evaluate the level of firefighter and aviation exposure required to successfully meet the current strategy and implement the course of action. Rank this element as N/A (Very Low), Low, Moderate, or High. Considers the likelihood that those resources will be effective; exposure of firefighters; reliance on aircraft to accomplish objectives; and whether there are clearly defined trigger points.

Use the following table to help guide your selection for Incident Strategies:

Table 1: Determining Selection Values for Incident Strategies

N/A (Very Low)




  • Potential firefighter exposure is very low due to limited or few resources on the fireline.
  • Limited or no actions being taken on the fire.
  • Periodic assessment set at maximum number of days because fire environment is stable.
  • Few personnel on the fireline with simple management activities.
  • Fireline activities may involve occasional actions to delay, direct, or check fire spread in some areas or development of management action points.
  • Firefighter exposure low due to a limited number of resources assigned, limited action or simple actions being taken on the ground.
  • Periodic assessment frequency is set at or near maximum interval because the fire environment is not readily changing.
  • A mix of ground and air resources involved but the fire environment is only moderately dynamic and actions are non-complex.
  • Combinations of simultaneous actions (monitoring/areas of direct perimeter control) may be taking place.
  • Restrictions or closures considered or may be in place.
  • Firefighter exposure is at moderate levels because of the varied resources being deployed, a moderately dynamic strategy, and limited values are threatened.
  • Periodic assessment frequency is set at intermediate levels because changes to strategies and tactics are not occurring regularly.
  • Management actions involve a variety of resources, are complex and the strategies are dynamic.
  • Restrictions or closures in place or are taking place real time and expanding.
  • Firefighter exposure at maximum levels due to the complexity of the actions being taken, the multitude of unlike resources, and values at risk.
  • Daily periodic assessments are taking place because the fire environment is changing requiring updates to the decision or consideration by the local unit.

Functional Concerns

Evaluate the needed organizational structure to adequately and safely manage the incident, and rank this element as N/A (minimal resource committed), low (adequate), moderate (some additional support needed), or high (current capability inadequate).

Considerations include: Incident management functions (logistics, finance, operations, information, planning, safety, and/or specialized personnel/equipment) are inadequate and needed; availability of resources; access to EMS support; heavy commitment of local resources to logistical support; ability of local businesses to sustain logistical support; substantial air operation which is not properly staffed; worked multiple operational periods without achieving initial objectives; incident personnel overextended mentally and/or physically; Incident Action Plans, briefings, etc. missing or incomplete; performance of firefighting resources affected by cumulative fatigue; and ineffective communications.

Use the following table to help guide your selection for Functional Concerns:

Table 1: Determining Selection Values for Functional Concerns

N/A (Very Low)




  • Few or no resources required on the fire.
  • Local resources are utilized or resources can be easily ordered.
  • Special support personnel not necessary.
  • No specific IAP required, routine briefing and communications suffice.
  • Safety issues are easily identified and mitigated.
  • Terrain and fuels do not affect action or make the incident challenging to support.
  • Existing management organization adequate or can be downsized.
  • Resources are available to support actions.
  • Special support personnel not necessary.
  • Necessary frequency for IAP’s less than daily.
  • Safety issues are easily identifiable and mitigated.
  • Terrain and fuels are such that actions are easily supported.
  • Existing management organization is too small or does not match the complexity/incident strategies making it difficult to achieve the incident objectives.
  • Availability of resources may be limited.
  • Special support personnel are needed.
  • Safety hazards have been identified and can be mitigated.
  • Terrain and fuels are such that actions are a challenge to a simple organization.
  • Current fire size warrants three or more divisions or potential exists for increased functional areas.
  • Special functional positions (C&G) or units are needed.
  • Adequate resources may be limited or difficult to obtain.
  • Substantial aviation operations are taking place requiring significant staffing.
  • Complex operations are taking place which lead to extensive safety management.
  • Terrain and fuels make actions challenging to support.