Fire Management
Advisory Team
Fire Management
Fire Manager
Burn Boss (RXB1)
Burn Boss (RXB2)
Burn Boss (RXB3)
Incident Commander
Type 4 (ICT4)
Single Resource Boss
Squad Boss (FFT1)
Firefighter (FFT2)
RX Crew Member
Chainsaw Operator
ATV/ UTV Operator
Supervised Participant
Fire Observer


The Chainsaw Operator uses a chainsaw to complete fire management activities, including burn unit preparation, fire operations, mop-up and hazard mitigation. The following standards are designed to ensure chainsaw safety and proficiency have been taught and exhibited in a consistent manner across the entire Conservancy fire organization.

These standards apply to Conservancy personnel working on Conservancy fires. They are only relevant to non-fire stewardship activities as training standards if adopted by local Operating Unit.


Personnel operating chainsaws for fire management activities are required to meet training, experience and fitness standards described below for either General Sawyer or Wildland Fire Faller positions.

A. General Sawyer

A General Sawyer uses a chainsaw during conditions without fire or flames in the immediate work environment. For example, during burn unit preparations or pre-burn hazard mitigation or cutting near non-broadcast burn piles. Note: this position is not documented in the IQCS database.

Required Training:
Training must meet the following learning objectives:

  1. List and apply chainsaw safety standards as required by OSHA.
  2. Incorporate the approved use and maintenance of PPE for chainsaw use.
  3. Identify basic chainsaw parts, nomenclature, maintenance, tuning, troubleshooting and safety features.
  4. Demonstrate field maintenance tasks required for chainsaw operation.
  5. Demonstrate the tactical application of chainsaws in brushing, limbing, bucking and falling, according to programmatic needs.

The NWCG course Wildland Fire Chain Saws (S-212) meets all of the above requirements. Other training on chainsaw use and safety developed by the chainsaw industry or third party vendors are acceptable if the five requisite learning objectives above are covered. Individual field evaluation of student knowledge, skills and abilities is a requirement regardless of the training course. The S-212 Field Evaluation Form or an equivalent form must be used by instructors to judge student ability.

A government agency or vendor must certify instructors, or instructors must minimally meet the qualification of Intermediate Faller (FAL2) as described below and in the PMS 310-1.

Required Experience:
Satisfactory performance as a Prescribed Fire Crew Member (RXCM) or Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2).

Physical Fitness Level:

B. Wildland Fire Faller

A Wildland Fire Faller uses a chainsaw during conditions with the potential for fire or flames in the immediate work environment, including on wildfires and during prescribed fire operations. This includes the PMS 310-1 positions of Basic Faller (FAL3), Intermediate Faller (FAL2) and Advanced Faller (FAL1) as documented in the IQCS database.

Required Training:
Wildland Fire Chainsaws (S-212)

Lead Instructor for the S-212 course must be qualified and current as both Intermediate Faller (FAL2) and Single Resource Boss or higher as defined in PMS 310-1. Unit or field instructors for S-212 should be technically proficient in the subject matter.

Required Experience:
Satisfactory performance as a Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2).

Completion and certification of Faller Position Task Book (PMS 311-91)

Physical Fitness Level:

Position Currency

A chainsaw operator, any type described above, must maintain currency by completing the RT-130 Annual Fireline Safety Refresher (RT-130) and a field evaluation or assignment at least once every three (3) years.

Personal Protective Equipment

The following personal protective equipment will be used during chainsaw operations:

  • Approved Hardhat (meeting fire mgmt. operations requirements)
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Cut resistant, non-skid boots (meeting fire mgmt. operations requirements)
  • Hearing protection, adequate at 85 Decibels minimum
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Chainsaw chaps that overlap top of boot


All chainsaw operators, no matter what certification level, are expected to exercise caution and good judgment in determining whether they have the competency level to fell any individual tree. There are some situations where the appropriate choice is to choose an alternative to attempting to cut a hazardous tree.

All chainsaw operators, no matter what certification level, are expected to follow safe practices taught in training, including compliance with OSHA requirements such as having appropriate First Aid Kit(s) on-site, having each faller performing work be in a position or location that is within visual or audible contact of another person, and having at least crew leader or lead chainsaw operator at a work site current in First Aid and CPR Training.

Special Situations

A Fire Manager may allow a General Sawyer to operate a chainsaw in the vicinity of active fire in special situations. For example, cutting or bucking where the assessed hazards and risks are low due to small size or limited extent of woody vegetation in and around a Conservancy-led prescribed burn area. Such exemptions must be made by the Fire Manager in writing with justification, after consultation with Fire Management Coordinator.

Last updated July 20, 2017.

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