Forest Fire Leadership: Presence of Command: Do You Know Who You Are?

What is command presence?Leader of the forest fire service, p. 20

More than anything else, the presence of the chief's command sets the tone for the command climate. The presence of command is the way we present ourselves to others, the myriad of attributes and personal behaviors that communicate to others that we are worthy of their trust and respect.

Character is the foundation of the command's presence. All people reveal their character in each interaction, and the character shapes and permeates the presence of a leader's command.

Another element of command presence – behavior – speaks volumes for others. Balance and self-confidence play a big role in shaping the projected image. Effective leaders project a calm, organized and success-oriented image.

Fire chiefs take charge when in charge; we lead from the front and act decisively. In times of crisis, the presence of a command chief can be the critical factor in determining whether a team succumbs to pressures and dangers or remains focused on seizing an opportunity to overcome and succeed. We inspire confidence among team members by demonstrating a strong and effective command presence.


The theme of the 2020 wildfire leadership campaign is "Command Presence: Do You Know Who You Are?"

The campaign is an opportunity for staff at the local level – whether collectively or through personal development – to focus on leadership development activities related to the theme of the national campaign.


  • Promote leadership development in all disciplines of the wildland community.
  • Provide an opportunity and resources that can be used for leadership development at the local unit level.
  • Gather innovative leadership development efforts and share those efforts across the community.

Final state:
A culture that creates and shares innovative leadership development efforts to maintain superior leadership in the fire community.

Campaign dates:
Anytime between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

All forest firefighting personnel – line and support.

The campaign is flexible. Local units or teams can use or adapt all or part of the material found on this blog or published on our social media platforms or develop a program or activity of your choice highlighting the theme of the campaign. Campaign coordinators are encouraged to tailor the campaign to the needs of the local unit and team. Innovation should fuel the delivery of your campaign: workshops or tailgate sessions, to launch staff meetings, as a team activity or self-managed, etc.

Social media platforms: