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S-490 Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations (2010)
Pre-Course Work

Course Description

The S-490 pre-course work consists of study material and a pre-qualifying test. It contains five parts covering information from S-190, S-290, S-390 and BehavePlus.

The pre-qualifying test is open book and must be completed with no outside assistance. The test must be administered by a proctor (your supervisor or designated acting). The proctor will certify that the test was administered properly by signing the Proctor's Test Compliance Statement.

Please do not attempt this pre-course work unless directed to do so. The pre-qualifying test is only available from your proctor through the Geographic Training center.

Click here to view the NWCG certification statement for this course.

Course Objective(s)

Students will successfully complete the pre-course study materials to prepare for the pre-qualifying test.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course components

Hours to complete

Pre-selection assessment


Pre-course work


Online training

Not applicable

Instructor-led training




Pre-course Review

Step 1: Download and complete each of the pre-course study parts. A practice test and answer key is provided with each part. Though you are not required to complete the practice tests for each part, it will be useful in preparing for the pre-qualifying test. Do not turn these in to your course coordinator. They are for you to keep.

Part 1 – Using Topographic Maps
Part 2 – Fire Weather and Fire Behavior Knowledge
Part 3 – Fire Behavior Inputs
Part 4 – Manual Methods of Fire Behavior Prediction
Part 5 – Use of Behave Plus

Step 2: After you have completed the pre-course work parts, designate a proctor (your supervisor or designated acting) and forward his/her contact information to the course coordinator. The course coordinator will contact your proctor give instructions, required paperwork and the pre-qualifying test for adminstration.

Reference and Instructional Materials (Appendixes)

All references are in .pdf format

Aids to Determining Fuel Model

Assessing Crown Fire Potential

Basic Land Navigation

BehavePlus File Organization

Canopy Fuel Profiles

Comparison of Crown Fire Modeling

Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide (not updated)

Fire Behavior Nomograms

Fire Ellipse Paper

Fire Weather Handbook
(16 mb)

Firefighter Safety Zones

Fireline Handbook, Appendix B

How to Predict Spread and Intensity

Interagency Fire Use Module

Inventorying Downed Woody Material

Predicting Behavior and Size of Crown

Standard Fire Behavior Fuel Models

Stereo Photo Guide for Canopy Characteristics

Optional Training Materials

S-490 WFDSS Lesson Plan
WFDSS Decision