To respond efficiently to wildfires, storms, hazardous waste spills and other emergencies, it’s important that different agencies have established procedures for communicating with each other. The Incident Command System (ICS) provides an organizational chart of all the jobs that may be needed during an emergency.

The ICS is managed by the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS). It gets agencies on the same page by:

  • integrating common communication terminology
  • providing training
  • systemizing qualifications
  • supporting technology

How Does the Incident Command System Work?

With GFC, every wildfire has an Incident Commander (IC). For a small wildfire, the IC is a County Ranger with a tractor-plow unit. These resources are usually enough to extinguish most wildfires in Georgia. If a fire situation escalates, the job of IC might fall to the District Forester or the State Forest Fire Chief. When incidents cross jurisdictional boundaries, multiple agencies may work together under a Unified Command.

Unified Command – Interagency Cooperation

In cross-jurisdictional emergencies, agencies work together under a Unified Command. In these instances, the agency with jurisdiction over the incident would serve as Incident Commander (IC). The agency with the next-most responsible jurisdiction would serve as Deputy IC. In some cases, each agency might appoint representatives to a panel to discuss how to handle the incident and set priorities for protection of life, property and natural resources.

Larger emergencies may require more support in the form of:

  • Logistics – People to provide meals and repair equipment
  • Planning – People to plan for needed resources
  • Operations – People to be in charge of the ground forces
  • Finance – People to keep up with expenses and time

Interagency cooperation plays an important role in filling these positions. Each agency has different policies and responsibilities. For instance:

What Are Incident Management (IMT) and Incident Management 2 (IMT2) Teams?

IMT – a group of professionals training and working together as a unit to manage an emergency more effectively and efficiently
IMT2 – provides additional skilled people and critical resources in a timely and cost effective manner

Georgia Forestry Commission’s IMT2
GFC’s IMT2 consists of GFC personnel from all service areas of the agency. IMT2 maintains a primary and alternate team roster, as well as apprentice and trainee positions. All members join the team voluntarily and take part in ongoing training. When IMT2 is working an incident, GFC activates an expanded dispatch center at GFC headquarters in Macon. These professionals assist with communications and delivery of resources.

Helpful Resources

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Daily Fire Danger Rating Map

Daily updates of fire risks across Georgia

External Website
Fire Weather Forecast

Current Fire Weather Forecasts and current National Fire Danger Ratings by GFC Areas

External Website
NIIMS Operational System Description

Operational system descriptions and procedures for general use