Forest Fire Leadership: Breathe


We have all been there. You have the mind full of "tricks" and one or two or three decisions to make. Maybe you are tired, do you have a mouth, are fires active in the area and / or are communities threatened? Maybe that is your home that is threatened and your loved ones are evacuating while you fight the fire. You are in the worst scenario or beyond this one; you have critical decisions to make and ethical dilemmas to resolve.

How can we clean our minds of all "things" in order to make our decisions?

By reading the excerpt below from an article in the Daily Stoic blog, think about the decision-making model with respect to the time wedge.

Again and again, Stoics warn of the dangers of our immediate emotional reactions to events, as these split-second judgments can often be based on less than clear vision. "- The Stoic Daily

In Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana explains a well-known Zen analogy and its connection to meditation:

"After sitting without moving, close your eyes. Our mind is analogous to a cup of muddy water. The more you stay motionless in a muddy water cup, the more mud settles and you will clearly see the water. Likewise, if you remain silent without moving your body, focusing all your attention on the subject of your meditation, your mind calms down and begins to feel the happiness of meditation. (From the daily Stoic e-newsletter)

Things to consider:

  • In strong moments, how can a leader cleanse his mind to avoid emotional reactions and split-second judgments?
  • Do you take the time everyday to clear your mind and reflect on yourself?
  • Do you create a leadership environment for your team that promotes self-awareness and reflection?
  • What methods can you use to control troubled waters?

Leadership challenge in forest fires – Fucking a little further

  • Here is a quick meditation technique from AlejoLab LifePotential similar to the one our fellow student leadership, Ben Iverson, shares in his workshops.

Until next time, be careful and lead well!


About the author: Pam McDonald is Editor-in-Chief for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.