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Colorado Firecamp - wildland firefighter training

Apply on-line now for Colorado Firecamp's upcoming S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws classes:

  • March 7-10, 2024
  • April 11-14, 2024
  • May 2-5, 2024
  • May 30-June 2, 2024
  • June 20-23, 2024
  • July 11-14, 2024
  • August 1-4, 2024
  • August 22-25, 2024

Cost: $750 includes tuition, books, meals & lodging.

What to Bring to Class

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

MTDC Chain Saw Training

Felling Boss Training

Little Grass Valley Tree Felling Accident FLA — August, 2009

Freeman Reservoir tree felling fatality, 72-hour report & OSHA citation — June, 2009

Storm Mountain Ranch tree felling accident, OSHA citation — May, 2009

Andrew Palmer Fatality, Dutch Creek Incident, — June, 2008

OSHA citations

Volusia County Tree Felling Fatality
Scene Pictures — November, 2007

Big Creek Fire Accident — August, 2006

NWCG Hazard Tree and Tree Felling Task Group — link to hazard tree safety information

USFS Region 2 letter to Sen. Udall, re: S-212 cutting area — June, 2009

CSFS Faller Qualification Guidelines — May, 2006

USFS Region 2 Chainsaw Policy — February, 2005

S-235 Felling Boss Training, Issue Paper #12 — January, 1996

Wildland Fire Chain Saw Glossary — S-212 Pre-course work


Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
S-212 / MTDC Chainsaw Training

Download the complete Firecamp Chainsaw JHA (pdf file, 67kb.)

Colorado Firecamp




   S-212/MTDC Chainsaw Training

   Salida, Colorado






References-FSH 6709.11 and 12 (Instructions on Reverse)

   Kent Maxwell
   Mark Thomas

  Training Coordinator
  Lead Instructor

updated 8/25/2010




Engineering Controls * Substitution * Administrative Controls * PPE

Training requirements


personal injury


  • Successful completion of S-212 course or MTDC Chain Saw/Crosscut saw training course.
  • Certified in basic first-aid and CPR.
  • Do not exceed your level of training. If you are a trainee you must have a qualified person supervising your activities.

Training certification


  • Chainsaw operators shall be properly certified prior to operation and will adhere to any restrictions or limitations placed upon them.
  • Chainsaw operators may only exceed the restrictions or limitations placed on them if they are under the supervision of a qualified individual who is certified at a higher level of saw operation.
  • For the purposes of training, additional individuals besides the saw operator may be allowed with-in a 2 ˝ times tree height radius if under supervision of a qualified instructor.

Personal protective equipment

cuts, eye injuries, hearing loss, burns

  • Appropriate gloves (cut resistant for sharpening), hardhat, hearing protection (85dB and above,) long sleeve shirt, chaps(recommended to overlap top of  boots 2”), boots - 8” high with skid resistant soles, and eye protection.
  • Proper PPE must be worn at all times.


injury, damage to equipment or adjacent resources

  • Ensure chainsaw is in proper working order with fully functional chain brake.
  • Ensure chain is properly sharpened and adjusted.
  • Ensure falling axe of appropriate size and weight.
  • Ensure proper size and number of wedges.

Transporting chain saws


fire, damage to equipment, and personal injury

  • Saw should be transported either purged of all fuel, or completely full.
  • Bars should be covered during transportation.
  • Saws should be secured in compartments away from people in a manner that will minimize shifting to prevent damage to saw and apparatus.
  • When transporting saws by rotor or fixed wing aircraft follow direction of pilot of qualified person in charge.
  • Do not carry saws or fuel containers in passenger compartment.

Walking with chain saw

cuts, falls, sprains and strains

  • Engage chain brake or shut off chain if walking more than 50 feet.
  • While carrying chain saw on shoulder ensure that chain and dogs are covered.


head injury, cuts, falling, and slipping

  • Size up the tree considering the tree species, height, diameter, lean, soundness, current and previous fire damage, split or broken top, overhead hazards, widow makers, and other hazard tree indicators.
  • Sound the trunk.  Bore tree if necessary to determine soundness.
  • Walk anticipated lay of tree and check for hazards.
  • Clear work area of hazards and obstuctions.
  • Determine and clear primary and secondary escape routes.
  • Ensure that area 2 1/2 times the height of the tree to be felled is clear of personnel.
  • Be alert for envirormental conditions that could increase risk (strong/gusty winds, steep slopes, etc.)
  • Ensure adquete traffic control measures are taken on roads and trails.  Take and maintain area control.
  • If the identified tree cannot be safely removed and presents a hazard, the area will be flagged off at a safe distance and an alternate mitigation used.

Starting procedure

loss of control, cuts from contact with moving chain

The methods to safely start and operate a saw can vary with the model and size.  The following basic precautions generally apply regardless of the saw model:

  • Maintain a secure grip on the saw at all times.
  • Start the saw on the ground or ensure saw is firmly supported.
  • Do not "drop start" a chain saw. 
  • Chain brake must be engaged.
  • Operator must announce, “Starting saw!”

Felling process

head injury, eye injury, cuts, amputation, crushing injuries, death

  • No employee shall approach a faller closer than 2-1/2 tree lengths of trees being felled until the faller has acknowledged that it is safe to do so, unless it is demonstrated that a team of employees is necessary to manually fell a particular tree, or to observe in a training situation with an instructor
  • Follow proper felling procedure as outlined in S-212 or MTDC chainsaw course.
  • Initiate undercut at a level that ensures adequate footing and balance throughout cutting sequence.
  • Prior to starting the back cut, the saw should be stopped and the area surveyed to ensure that nobody has entered the area. A warning should be sounded as to the intentions of your actions (i.e. “tree coming down, sidehill.”)  Operator must announce, “Tree falling!”
  • At the first sign of the tree commiting to the undercut proceed to safety zone.
  • No felling operations will be conducted at night or during times the top of tree being felled is obscured.

Working in a group using a chainsaw

struck by tree and limbs, head injury,crushing injury, death

  • Space employees so that activies of one will not create a hazard for another.
  • Have workers and felling crews on the same contour rather than some working above and below others on steep slopes.
  • Establish and maintain area control and communications.


cuts, injury from limbs whipping back, crushing injuries

  • Beware of other logs, branches, or rocks immediately behind the area where you are bucking, brushing, or limbing for possible kickback potential or rocking of the chain.
  • Watch for limbs under tension, and be aware of kick back and bar pinch.
  • Be cautious when limbing on the downhill sides of trees. Limbs may be holding tree in place, be aware that the log may roll after a limb is cut.
  • Know where the tip of your bar is at all times.
  • Walk the tree and make plan for limb removal sequence.
  • Maintain clear area for footing. 
  • Engage chain brake if operator removes a hand from saw.
  • Must have escape route.


cuts, injury from limbs whipping back, crushing injuries

  • Beware of other logs, branches, or rocks in work area.
  • Avoid bucking on the downhill side.
  • Ensure log is stable.
  • Check area for overhead hazards.
  • Must have escape route.

Saw team operations

cuts, struck by trees and limbs, head injury, crushing injury, death

  • No employee shall approach a faller closer than 2-1/2 tree lengths of trees being felled until the faller has acknowledged that it is safe to do so, unless it is demonstrated that a team of employees is necessary to manually fell a particular tree.
  • Engage chain brake.
  • Do not allow swamper to “reach in” to grab brush.
  • Ensure swamper in clear of hazards when conducting limbing and bucking operations.
  • Sawyer and swamper communicate with each other when pulling brush and working close together.

Traffic control

injury to public, damage to vehicles.

  • Ensure road gaurds are in place along travel routes when
  • felling trees that are along the travel routes.
  • Establish radio communications between road guards and the sawer when needed.

Fueling chain saws

burns, possible fire

  • Allow chain saw to cool for at least 5-minutes before refueling.
  • Fill the tank on bare ground or other noncombustable surface.
  • Immediately clean up spilled fuel / use a funnel.
  • Refuel out doors and at least 20 feet from an open flame or other sources of ignition.
  • Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area.

Pre-work briefing / tailgate safety session


  • Brief employees on work assignment and objectives.
  • Insure required PPE is being utilized.
  • Review applicable JHAs, hazard tree indicators and mitigation measures including LCES (lookouts, communications, escape routes, safety zones). 
  • Refer to attachment at end of this JHA.
  • Brief employees on the plan that would be executed in the event of a serious employee illness/injury that would require medical evacuation.



12. DATE

Kent Maxwell

training coordinator

April 22, 2009


Previous edition is obsolete




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