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Glossary of Terms

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- P -

Pack Test:
The pack test gauges the aerobic capacity of fire suppression and support personnel and assigns physical fitness scores. The test consists of walking a specified distance, with or without a weighted pack, in a predetermined period of time, with altitude corrections. Various levels of the test apply to various levels of firefighting duties or jobs.

Anything intentionally dropped, or intended for dropping, from an aircraft by parachute, by other retarding devices, or by free-fall. Often includes firefighting supplies and tools for firefighters in remote areas.

Peak Fire Season:
That period of the fire season during which fires are expected to ignite most readily, to burn with greater than average intensity, and to cause damage at an unacceptable level.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
All firefighting personnel must be equipped with protective equipment and clothing in order to mitigate the risk of injury from or exposure to hazardous conditions encountered while working. PPE includes, but is not limited to, 8-inch high-laced leather boots with lug soles, fire shelter, hard hat with chin strap, goggles, ear plugs, aramid shirts and trousers, leather gloves, and individual first aid kits.

Condition or degree of being ready to cope with a potential fire situation. Preparedness Levels are determined by region and nationally as the season progresses, based on current and expected conditions.

Prescribed Fire:
Any fire ignited by management actions under certain pre-determined conditions to meet specific objectives related to hazardous fuels reduction or habitat improvement. A written, approved prescribed fire plan must exist, and NEPA requirements must be met prior to ignition. Prescribed fires are ignited and managed within a "window" (see Prescription below) of very specific conditions including winds, temperatures, humidity, and other factors specified in the burn plan. Prescribed fire is also referred to as a "controlled burn" or "prescribed burn".

Prescribed Fire Module:
A team of skilled and mobile personnel dedicated primarily to prescribed fire management. These are national and interagency resources, available throughout the prescribed fire season, trained to ignite, hold, and monitor prescribed fires.

Prescribed Fire Plan:
This document provides the prescribed fire burn boss the information needed to implement an individual prescribed fire project. Also called burn plan.

Measurable criteria that define conditions under which a prescribed fire may be ignited, which also guide selection of appropriate management responses and indicate other required actions. Prescription criteria may include safety, economic factors, air quality, public health, and other environmental, geographic, administrative, social, or legal considerations.

Activities directed at reducing the incidence of fires, including public education, law enforcement, personal contact, and reduction of fuels hazards.

Project Fire:
A fire of such size or complexity that a large incident management organization and prolonged activity are required to suppress it.

A combination chopping and trenching tool that combines a single-bitted ax blade with a narrow adze-like trenching blade fitted to a straight handle. Useful for grubbing or trenching in duff and matted roots. Well-balanced for chopping.