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How To Document Wildfires

Posted: Nov. 29, 2023

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More than 60,000 communities in the U.S. are at risk for wildfires because they reside in the wildland urban interface. In these communities, fire departments have been responding to wildfires that cause significant damages to buildings, loss of life and disruption to everyday life for years. It is important to document wildfires in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) completely and accurately to better understand the impacts they have in our country.

To report a wildfire in NFIRS, record 1 base incident including the exposures of what your fire department responded to. Ensure the Number of Buildings Ignited is recorded in section I1 of the Wildland Fire Module. The maximum reporting limit is 999 exposures per incident.


  • If it is a structure fire caused by the wildfire, it is an exposure of the base incident (Fire Department ID (FDID), Incident Date and Incident Number of the initial incident report).
  • If more than 1 fire department responds to the incident, the primary fire department will either need to collect and enter the information for the other departments, or they must give access to other users to submit their reports so that all of the reports come from the same fire department. This is due to the way an exposure must be reported using the same FDID, Incident Date and Incident Number.
  • The Aid Given or Received code (section D of the Basic Module) is reported by how they responded — given to the primary, assisting the fire department that first arrived, or none (went on the call with no assistance).

Report as usual:

  • Incident Type and Property Use codes (sections C and J of the Basic Module, respectively) as found on arrival.
  • When a fire-related civilian casualty occurs, report the number of deaths and/or injuries in section H1 of the Basic Module and include the Civilian Fire Casualty Module for each reported casualty on the Basic Module. Civilian fire casualties should only be reported by the primary department.
  • Each fire department reports their own fire service casualties in section H1 of the Basic Module and completes a Fire Service Casualty Module for each reported casualty.