Medicine Bow National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2468 Jackson Street
Laramie, WY 82070
A transfer of command from the Southern Area Blue Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) to a Type 3 IMT took place on the morning of October 24 on the Mullen Fire. The current type 3 team is under the leadership of Incident Commander (IC) Paul Varnedoe.
Because IMTs typically are assigned to any given incident for fourteen to twenty-one days, transitions of this type occur on a routine basis during long-duration incidents. A similar transfer of command occurred on October 6 when the Southern Area Blue IMT assumed command of the Mullen Fire from the Rocky Mountain Blue Type 2 IMT which had been managing the incident previously.
Whenever a transfer of command takes place, members of the outgoing and incoming teams jointly develop incident plans for at least 24 hours to ensure a seamless transition. Key members of the incoming team, the Command and General Staff, shadow their outgoing counterparts so that the corporate knowledge of the incident is transferred and retained. Additionally, on almost every incident, several individuals serve under both teams because their assignment overlaps the transition period. This further helps ensure continuity of operations from one team to another.
Type 1 and 2 IMTs, the highest-qualified teams used in interagency wildfire management, are established teams that remain intact throughout the year for dispatch to wildland fires and non-fire incidents. These IMTs have several primary and alternate team members so that when assigned, they can respond with suitable depth as an organized team.
On the other hand, wildland fire type 3 IMTs generally are ad hoc organizations, assembled when needed to manage fires either in the initial phase, or toward the end of the incident as the complexity decreases.
The organizational structure under which IMTs function is called the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS, first developed for the management of wildland fires in the 1970s, now is used by federal, state, tribal, local and non-government agencies and organizations to manage just about any type of complex incident imaginable. Some examples include natural disaster response, search and rescue (SAR), terrorism response, law enforcement operations and large planned events.
To learn more about how ICS is used to manage wildfires, the “Wildland Fire - Learning In Depth” series developed by the National Park Service, is an excellent resource: https://www.nps.gov/articles/wildland-fire-incident-command-system.htm