S495 - Geospatial Fire Analysis, Interpretation and Application

Course Target Group:

  • Personnel desiring to be qualified as long-term analyst (LTAN) or a fire behavior analyst (FBAN) completing position task book items relating to spatial fire analysis or a geospatial analysis technical specialist (THSP).

Course Description:

S-495 is an intensive course which prepares the long term analyst (LTAN) and fire behavior analyst (FBAN) to use a variety of geospatial fire analysis tools in order to provide short-, mid-, and long-term fire behavior forecasts. It is the equivalent of a graduate-level class on geospatial fire modeling, conveying the latest processes and technology to assess weather, climatology, historic fires, fuels, and biophysical attributes to develop deterministic and probabilistic fire growth assessments.

This course is presented using a blended learning approach. It employs a mix of required online distance learning and a final instructor-led session in a formal classroom setting. Students must allow for up to 120-hours to complete the distance learning portion of the course spread over a five-month period from November-March (extended to May due to partial government shutdown). The online distance learning is officially part of the course and is not pre-course work. Distance learning includes a number of quizzes that count toward the overall student score and final course grade. As such, students are required to successfully complete the online distance learning section with a satisfactory score on all tested materials in order to attend the final classroom portion.

Due to the intensive nature of S-495, participants can expect long days during the classroom portion of the class with short lectures followed by hands on individual and group exercises, breakout discussions, daily quizzes, a final exam, and optional evening help sessions.

Course Objectives:

  • Concepts taught will help an LTAN and FBAN perform at an acceptable level on a national basis without regard to geographic boundaries.
  • Prepare future LTANs with advanced geospatial fire analysis, interpretation and application skills, preparatory for S-590.
  • Introduce future FBANs to geospatial fire analysis, interpretation and application skills preparatory for completing task book items related to geospatial analysis.
  • Equip technical specialists with geospatial fire analysis, assessment, and interpretation skills.
  • Provide continuing education to qualified LTANs, FBANs, and technical specialists by providing the most recent advancements in geospatial fire analyses.

Total Hours: 164

Course Prerequisites:

Training Prerequisites:

All nominees are required to have successfully completed the following courses prior to applying to the course for the November start of online course work.

  • Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations (S-490).
  • Intermediate National Fire Danger Rating System (S-491).

Online Assessment:

All nominees are required to successfully complete a pre-selection qualifying exam testing knowledge of fire behavior principles, practices, and skills taught in S-390, S-490 and S-491. This is a 4-hour time limited exam taken online.

  • A passing score (70% or better) on the S-495 Qualifying Exam.
  • Successful completion of all distance learning materials with a cumulative score of 70% or better on all Unit Exercises and Exams.

Students not seeking certification can access the online self-paced lessons without prerequisites or tested material.  The self-paced modules may be accessed here.


Computer Requirements:

All participants attending S-495 will need to provide their own laptop and should be proficient in its use. A detailed listing of hardware and software needs will be included in the course selection letter.

Additional Information:

Success in S-495 will depend on the student's commitment to completing the distance learning training. Distance learning materials are meant to provide the appropriate level of background, foundational knowledge and concepts to be successful in the classroom.  This information will be further developed through instruction and exercises during instructor-led training in the classroom.

Additional skills and knowledge useful for the course:

  • Obtain an account in WFDSS in order to become proficient in navigating and using the various fire modeling applications.
  • Proficient in the use of FireFamilyPlus software.
  • Proficient in the use of BehavePlus software.
  • Familiarity with LANDFIRE data products.
  • Familiarity with GIS topics.

“See link to Session Details, above.”