The OPERATIONS CHIEF, as the head of the Operations Section, is responsible for
The Operations Chief designates the location of Staging areas within the Incident area which are used temporarily to locate resources which are available for assignment on a 3-minute availability. The Operations Chief may establish, move and discontinue use of Staging Areas.
The Operations Chief may establish an Air Operations Organization. It's size, organization and use will depend on the nature of the incident and aircraft availability. On large incidents the Operations Chief may deal directly with the Air Attack Supervisor, who in turn will coordinate all airborn activity through a Helicopter Coordinator and an Air Tanker Coordinator. In some cases (e.g., a single helicopter in use) the helicopter may be directly under the Operations Chief's control.
When the number of resources on an incident (single resources, Task Forces or Strike Teams) exceeds the 5-1 span-of-control of the Operations Chief, then Divisions and Groups are established.
Divisions are normally established for geographical areas. Groups are normally established for functional operations areas. There is no absolute necessity to differentiate by a separate term, Division or Group. However, the use of the two terms is useful in that a Division will always mean a geographical assignment and a Group will always mean a functional assignment.
This series is based on "Intro to ICS, ICS-I-120". For price and availability contact the Firetip Program, U.S.Forest Service, Boise Interagency Fire Center, 3905 Vista Ave., Boise, ID 83705
Next bulletin: ICS Air Operations