Crew member setting a back burn fire to limit the spread of a wildfire.
Crew member setting a back burn fire to limit the spread of a wildfire.

A Wildland fire module (WFM), formerly fire use module (FUM), is a 7–10 person team of firefighting personnel dedicated to planning, monitoring and starting fires. They may be deployed anywhere in the United States for resource benefits (fire use), prescribed fire and hazard fuel reduction projects.

As inter-agency national resource personnel, fire use modules have expertise in the areas of fire monitoring, ignition, holding and suppression, prescribed fire preparation and implementation support, hazard fuels reduction, and fire effects monitoring.

Fire use modules are funded by different US government agencies including the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The Nature Conservancy is the sole non-government entity to sponsor and support a Fire Use Module.[1]


In 1995, the US National Park Service (USNPS) founded fire use modules and hosted them in five different park units across the United States: Bandalier NM, Saguaro NP, Whisky town NRA, Zion NP, and Yellowstone NP. In 1999 the USMPS created four more modules; Black Hills FUM, Cumberland Gap FUM, Great Smokes FUM, and Buffalo River FUM.[2]

Checking a map showing the area of a planned burn.
Checking a map showing the area of a planned burn.

The modules were developed with the primary purpose of assisting the National Park units with fire use (wildland fire use and prescribed fire), meeting the objectives of the agency in the areas of project preparation and execution with narrow burn prescription windows.[jargon] Secondarily the modules were intended to be used in monitoring fire effects, and manually reducing hazard fuels on various park units. Modules were also anticipated to be used to assist other agencies in fire use and fuels treatment projects when all the park unit objectives were met.[3]

Other modules came into existence as the use and flexibility of fire use modules became more apparent. Most notable of these fire use modules includes those on the Stanislaus National Forest (Calvarase FUM, Summit FUM, etc.), The Ashley National Forest (Flaming Gorge WFM, Kings Peak WFM), The Bureau of Land Managements Unaweep WFM and The Nature Conservancy's Southern Rockies.[4]

Since 2005, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) has also implemented the use of fire use modules (known as wildland fire modules) as well throughout the country. As of 2010 there were 17 wildland fire modules in the United States. These modules are highly qualified and extremely effective in a variety of fire ground operations ranging from basic suppression to extremely accurate fire behavior analysis and other tactical predictive services.


A typical module consists of the following positions:[5]

Minimum qualifications

Target qualifications

Target qualifications for WFM are listed below (qualifications are not tied to a particular position within the WFM)[7]

Fitness goals

As a part of fire line performance required of WFMs, the physical ability to perform arduous labor is critical to module morale, personal health and safety standards. All WFM personnel strive to meet the following goals:[8]

See also


  1. ^ Feature article, Where We Work
  2. ^ USNPS Announcement
  3. ^ FUM Ops Guide
  4. ^ "The Nature Conservancy in Colorado - Southern Rockies Fire Use Module Makes First Run". Archived from the original on 2008-10-11.
  5. ^ FUM Operations Guide, 2005
  6. ^ "Publications | NWCG" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Publications | NWCG" (PDF).
  8. ^ WFM publication – fitness