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Glossary of Terms

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- S -

Safety Zone:
An area cleared of flammable materials used for escape in the event the line is outflanked or in case a spot fire causes fuels outside the control line to render the line unsafe. In firing operations, crews maintain a safety zone close at hand. Safety zones may also be constructed as integral parts of fuel breaks; they are greatly enlarged areas which can be used with relative safety by firefighters and their equipment in the event of a blow-up in the vicinity.

Scratch Line:
An unfinished preliminary fireline hastily established or built as an emergency measure to slow or halt the spread of fire.

Severity Funding:
Funds provided to increase suppression response capability necessitated by abnormal weather patterns, extended drought, or other events causing abnormal increase in the fire potential and/or danger.

Short-interval fire-adapted plant communities:
Those communities that depend on frequently occurring, low intensity surface fires to cycle nutrients, control pathogens, and maintain stand density and age class distributions in a healthy, resilient condition. Rapid fuel accumulation occurs in these communities in the absence of fire. Also see long-interval fire-adapted plant communities.

The science, art and practice of: caring for, cultivating, managing and development forests.

Single Resource:
An individual, a piece of equipment (such as an engine) and its staff, or a crew or team of persons with an identified work supervisor.

Size Up:
To evaluate a fire to determine a course of action for suppression.

Debris left after logging, pruning, thinning, or brush cutting; can include logs, chips, bark, branches, stumps and broken understory trees or brush.

Sling Load:
Cargo carried beneath a helicopter and attached by a lead line and swivel.

A fire edge that crosses a control line or natural barrier intended to contain the fire.

Smoke Management:
Application of fire intensities and meteorological processes to minimize degradation of air quality during prescribed fires.

A firefighter who travels to fires by aircraft and parachutes in to the fire area.

Smoldering Fire:
A fire burning without flame and barely spreading.

A standing dead tree or part of a dead tree from which at least the smaller branches have fallen.

Spark Arrester:
A device installed in a chimney, flue, or exhaust pipe to stop the emission of sparks and burning fragments.

Spot Fire:
A fire ignited outside the perimeter of the main fire by flying sparks or embers.

Spot Weather Forecast:
A special forecast issued to fit the time, topography, and weather of a specific fire. These forecasts are issued upon request of the user agency and are more detailed, timely, and specific than regular zone forecasts.

In smokejumping, the person responsible for selecting drop targets and supervising all aspects of dropping smokejumpers.

Behavior of a fire producing sparks or embers that are carried by the wind and start new fires beyond the zone of direct ignition by the main fire.

Staging Area:
Locations set up at an incident where resources can be placed while awaiting a tactical assignment on an available basis. Staging areas are managed by the operations section.

Stewardship Contracting
Stewardship Contracting allows private organizations or business to remove forest products, such as trees and undergrowth, in return for performing work to restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems. Work performed under stewardship contracts can provide a source of local employment and income to contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities.

The science and art of command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of an incident.

Strike Team:
Specified combinations of the same kind and type of resources -- such as a group of staffed engines -- with common communications and a leader.

Strike Team Leader:
Person responsible to a division or group supervisor for performing tactical assignments given to the strike team.

Structure Fire:
Fire burning any part or all of any building or structure.

An agent, such as water or foam, used to extinguish the flaming and glowing phases of combustion when directly applied to burning fuels.

All the work of extinguishing or containing a fire, beginning with its discovery.

Surface Fuels:
Loose litter on the soil surface, normally consisting of fallen leaves or needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches that have not yet decayed; also grasses, forbs, low and medium shrubs, tree seedlings, heavier branchwood, downed logs, and stumps interspersed with or partially replacing the litter.

(1) A worker who helps fallers and/or sawyers by clearing away brush, limbs, and small trees. Carries chainsaw gas, oil, and tools and watches for dangerous situations. (2) A worker on a dozer crew who pulls winch line, helps maintain equipment, etc., to speed suppression work on a fire.