Colorado Firecamp - wildfire training wildland firefighter training schedule Wildland Firefighter Jobs Wildfire Blog Location and Facility About Colorado Firecamp Frequently Asked Questions

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


Chain Saw Policy
U.S. Forest Service, Region 2

As of February, 2005, the Rocky Mountain Region (Region 2) of the U.S. Forest Service updated the qualification policy regarding the training and certification of sawyers and sawyer certifiers. While the policy is specific the USFS (and differs from that of other regions,) it can also serve as a model for local fire departments seeking to establish a saws policy.

The original document can be downloaded as an MS Word file (.doc) from the USFS website.

Forest Service Handbook

rocky mountain region (region 2)

denver, co

fsH 6709.11 - health and safety code handbook

chapteR 20 - work projects and activities

Supplement No.:  6709.11-2005-1

Effective Date:  February 23, 2005

Duration:  This supplement is effective until superseded or removed.

Approved:  rick d. cables

                      Regional Forester

Date Approved:  02/09/2005

Posting Instructions:  Supplements are numbered consecutively by Handbook number and calendar year.  Post by document; remove entire document and replace it with this supplement.  Retain this transmittal as the first page(s) of this document.  The last supplement to this Handbook was 6709.11-2004-1 to chapter 20.

New Document(s):


10 Pages

Superseded Document(s) by

Issuance Number and Effective Date

6709.11_20 (6709.11-2004-1, 4/1/2004)

3 Pages


22.48b - Revises Regional policy on crosscut and chainsaw program management for the Rocky Mountain Region.  Further defines qualification standards for personnel involved in certification and recertification of sawyers.

22.48h - Establishes requirement for two-person saw use.

22.48b - Qualifications

3.  Regional Crosscut and Chain Saw Program Coordinator must meet qualifications set forth in parent text and this supplement to manage the Regional Program for Crosscut and Chain Saw Training and Certification.  As a minimum, the Program Manager shall:

d.  Coordinate and manage the regional training, certification, and recertification process.

e.  Manage sawyer training, certification, and recertification processes.

f.  Keep abreast of changing crosscut and chainsaw thought and methodology and determine its value and application to the Regional saw program.

g.  Assist the Regional Safety Manager as the technical lead in saw accident investigation resulting in death or serious injury.

h.  Evaluate Forest Crosscut and Chain Saw Program Coordinators and "C" Certifiers to ensure they possess and maintain the competencies required to meet the duties and responsibilities outlined in this policy.

i.  Provide tactical program management, guidance, and oversight and assist the Forest Crosscut and Chain Saw Program Managers in implementing the program.

j.  Coordinate with the Regional Safety Manager to ensure program compliance and consistency Region-wide.

k.  In conjunction with the appropriate Forest Saw Program Coordinators and "C" Certifiers, co-conduct the initial training and certification of all "C" Certifier candidates in the Region and retain final approval of their certifications, including the endorsement of Field Evaluation Forms and wallet cards.

l.  In conjunction with the appropriate Forest Saw Program Coordinators and "C" Certifiers, co-endorse field recertification of "C" Certifier, and endorse wallet cards of all successful candidates.

m.  Maintain records of Forest Saw Program Coordinators and "C" Certifiers.

n.  Conduct or provide for the conducting of "train the trainer" work sessions for new "C" Sawyers to facilitate their learning of the training process for classroom and field certification of new and re-certifying sawyers.

o.  Conduct annual meetings of Forest Saw Program Coordinators and "C" Certifiers.  Forest Saw Coordinators and other "C" Certifiers should meet annually with the Regional Safety Manager and Regional Saw Coordinator to review the program and give their suggestions for improving it, in order to ensure effective and consistent program delivery Region-wide.

p.  When a "C" Certifier is not available, a professional sawyer may be contracted to substitute for a Forest Service instructor.  The Regional Saw Coordinator, in coordination with the Regional Safety manager, will approve the selection of all professional sawyers used in the Region.

q.  Identify and approve sources for professional sawyer instructor expertise in felling, bucking, limbing, and other chain saw and/or crosscut operations.  Use the following guidelines when selecting a professional sawyer.  Candidates should:

(1)  Submit a written statement addressing items (2) through (4) below and present references from other Regions/Forests, peers, industry, Incident Management Teams, and other recognized agencies that endorse the person as an expert sawyer or professional.

(2)  Have a minimum 2 years of professional sawyer instruction experience, 10 years as a professional sawyer.

(3)  Demonstrate the ability to effectively and appropriately work and communicate with the Regional and Forest Saw Program Coordinators and other Forest Service employees.

(4)  Demonstrate the ability to adopt and adhere to national and Regional saw policy direction, including adherence to prescribed safety mitigations in the Job Hazard Analysis.

4.  Forest Crosscut and Chain Saw Program Coordinators have the responsibility to:

a.  Maintain a minimum "C" sawyer certification.  The Region recommends the Forest Program Coordinator become a "C" Certifier to best accomplish program goals and facilitate training needs on their forest.

b.  Utilize and assigning qualified instructors to help plan, organize, and implement training and field certification for A, B, and C sawyers.

c.  Report within 24 hours all serious sawyer accidents to the Regional Saw Coordinator and Regional Safety Manager and annually report all sawyer incidents and accidents to the Regional Saw Coordinator.

d.  Seek out acceptable locations for the field certification of sawyers.

e.  Serve as the point of contact for unit coordinators and instructors on the Forest.

f.  Monitor the record keeping performed by unit coordinators Forest-wide.

g.  Work closely with the Forest Safety Manager to ensure program consistency and Forest-wide compliance.

h.  Meet annually with the Regional Safety manager and Regional Saw Coordinator to review the program, provide constructive feedback for program improvement and ensure effective and consistent program delivery Region-wide.

i.  Recommend the appointment of Unit Coordinator to the District Ranger or unit manager for approval.

j.  As a "C" Certifier, together with the Regional Saw Program Coordinator, sign the Field Evaluation Form for initial "C" Certifier certification.  As a "C" Certifier, together with another "C" Certifier, conduct "C" Certifier recertification.  Submit wallet cards to the Regional Coordinator for final approval/signature (See exhibit 01).

k.  Provide program leadership to ensure employees have the essential knowledge, skills, and ability to meet the certification requirements of this policy.

l.  As a "C" Certifier, may serve jointly as instructor with a "C" Certifier when conducting "C" sawyer training and certification.

m.  As a "C" Certifier, sign the Field Evaluation Form and wallet cards for "C" sawyer certifications.

n.  Provide management oversight to ensure that training and certification records are maintained and complete for all sawyers.

o.  Serve as a technical consultant in an investigation of any incident or accident involving sawyers, as requested.

p.  Coordinate with the Forest Fire Management Officer to ensure the program is meeting the needs of the Forest-level fire organization and to obtain feedback as to the effectiveness of the program.

5.  District Ranger appointed Unit Coordinators have the responsibility to:

a.  Maintain certification currency as a "B" sawyer or higher.

b.  Together with the Forest Saw Coordinator, provide for the training, instruction, and certification of sawyer candidates and recertification of all unit sawyers.

c.  Serve as the point of contact for district/unit sawyers, District Fire Management Officer, and first line supervisors.

d.  Meet annually with the Forest Saw Coordinator and Forest Safety Manager to monitor the saw program and ensure effective and consistent program delivery throughout the Forest.

e.  Maintain training and certification records for individuals on the unit.

f.  Serve as a technical consultant in an investigation of all safety incidents involving sawyers, as requested.

6.  First-line work supervisors have the responsibility to:

a.  Submit sawyer training and certification requests to the Unit Coordinator, including training of volunteers, well in advance to ensure that both training and certification and program of work objectives may be accomplished.

b.  Follow sawyer training and certification, consulting with the certifier, reviewing field evaluation forms, and making sure other prerequisite safety training is complete before assigning sawyer duties.

c.  Personally observe the sawyer in the field to ensure prescribed safe work practices are being followed.  Immediately suspend and/or correct any behavior not consistent with certification level or the job hazard analysis.

d.  Promptly report all sawyer incidents and accidents to the Forest Safety Manager, Line Officer, and Forest Crosscut and Chain Saw Coordinator.

e.  Ensure sawyers receive additional on-the-job refresher training as needed.  Discuss project specific hazards and risks identified in the job hazard analysis and during documented tailgate safety meetings.

7.  Training and Certification.  Sawyers' skills and proficiency vary depending on the quality of training, type of experience, effectiveness of supervision, and learned behavior.  Sawyers are required to safely work within the scope of their approved level of certification and to follow the direction outlined in the Job Hazard Analysis.  Every sawyer has final authority and responsibility for their safety as well as the safety of other people potentially exposed to the hazards of the operation.  Sawyers must continually maintain the secure cutting area and ensure that swampers, bystanders, and others are not placed at risk.

Forest Service instructors may instruct all interested persons; however, they may not certify individuals outside the agency.  Instead, they may recommend certification for successful trainees to the responsible senior supervisor of the organization to which each trainee belongs.

Rocky Mountain Region certification cards indicate the following proficiency levels:

a.  "A" Apprentice Sawyer Certification.  Prior to "A" certification, an apprentice sawyer is required to successfully complete the S-212 or MTDC Chain Saw and Crosscut Saw training course.

(1)  In the classroom, in addition to the course of instruction, the instructor shall discuss and review the pertinent sections of the Health and Safety Code Handbook and this Regional supplement, as well as a job hazard analysis.

(2)  After successfully completing the classroom training, the students are required to pass a field certification process.  Sawyers seeking felling certification must successfully fell a minimum of two trees 8 inches diameter or less.

b.  "B" Intermediate Sawyer Certification.  Prior to "B" certification, intermediate sawyers are required to successfully complete course S-212 or the MTDC Chain Saw and Crosscut Saw training course for "B" certification.  The course requires classroom instruction and field certification conducted by a certified instructor. Candidates seeking to advance from "A" to "B" certification may do so by passing the field certification process only, provided their "A" certification has not expired.

(1)  In the classroom, in addition to the prescribed sawyer course, instructors shall review pertinent sections of the Health and Safety Code Handbook and this Regional supplement, a job hazard analysis, other pertinent safety issues, and the use of applicable safety equipment.

(2)  After successfully completing the classroom training, the students are required to pass a field certification process.  Sawyers seeking felling certification at the "B" level must successfully fell a minimum of two trees up to 24 inches in diameter.

c.  "C" Advanced Sawyer Certification.  Prior to "C" sawyer certification, advanced sawyers must meet the prerequisite of having "B" level skills and training.  Where a professional sawyer is used in the training and certification of sawyers at the "C" level, the Regional Saw Program Coordinator retains the responsibility of approving the Field Evaluation Form and signing the wallet card of successful candidates.

(1)  Classroom instruction, to be conducted by a C-Certifier or a qualified C-Sawyer, generally consists of review of the National and Regional saw policy, job hazard analysis, lessons learned, local, Regional and National issues and incidents with updated procedures, as well as teaching techniques, certification process review, and record keeping requirements overviews.

(2)  In the field, certification shall focus on hands-on experience in complex operations including brushing, bucking, limbing, and felling of materials, as well as technical aspects of the training and certifying of "A" and "B" level sawyers.  A minimum of two trees, 24 inches in diameter or greater, must be successfully felled.  This field certification must be conducted by one or two "C" Certifiers, as delegated by the Regional Crosscut and Chainsaw Program Coordinator.

d.  "C" Certifier Certification.  The Regional Crosscut and Chain Saw Coordinator, in cooperation with the Forest Chainsaw Coordinators, the Forest Safety Managers and the Regional Safety Manager, will make an announcement requesting candidates' names be submitted to attend a "C" Certifier training and certification session.  It is the Regional Saw Program Coordinator's responsibility to evaluate and approve all applicants after reviewing their qualifications for suitability to become "C" Certifier-level sawyers.

Requirements for initial "C" Certifier certification include the successful completion of a specialized felling certification session conducted by the Regional Saw Coordinator and another "C" Certifier.  The Regional Saw Coordinator must sign both the Field Evaluation Form and the wallet card.

Saw operators seeking "C" Certifier certification must submit a written response to the evaluation criteria items (1) through (6) listed below, and must have their line officer's approval for nomination.  A form will be provided for this purpose.

(1)  Must currently be certified as a "C" advanced sawyer, documented on a completed Field Evaluation Form and certified under a program approved by the Regional and Forest Saw Program Coordinators.

(2)  Must have demonstrated instructor training, skills, and experience.

(3)  Must have instructed or assisted in instructing at least two complete and documented classroom training and field certification classes within the past 3 years.

(4)  Must demonstrate good interpersonal skills and an ability to be firm, fair, and objective in evaluating operator's behavior, strengths, and needs for improvement.

(5)  Must possess good decision-making skills and an ability to effectively evaluate, communicate, and teach others the approved process to safely fell and buck material in complex situations.

(6)  Must demonstrate the ability to complete a Field Evaluation Form, manage the certification records, and have competent knowledge of the Regional crosscut and chain saw policy and certification program.

8.  Recertification and Training.  Recertification must be accomplished prior to or as soon as practicable after expiration.  In no case will a sawyer continue to perform saw work more than 30 days past the expiration of their certification.

a.  Refresher training should be designed to meet the level of experience and the needs of sawyers being re-certified, utilizing all or part of the S-212 and/or MTDC courses.  Instructors should place emphasis on safe operating procedures and practices.  If possible and practical, the recertification field evaluation may be documented during the course of assigned project work.  During recertification, operators must demonstrate they can still successfully and safely perform the proficiency requirements of their expiring certification level.  The candidate must demonstrate a competent level of skill and experience, in the judgment of the instructor, prior to recertification.

b.  When "A" or "B" level certifications expire, the individual is required to complete a recertification process.  Minimum recertification requirements for "A" and "B" sawyers follow:

(1)  Classroom refresher shall involve applicable safety power points or films, review of a job hazard analysis and situational awareness.

(2)  Hands-on field evaluation will require the sawyer to demonstrate skills on material relevant to the assigned work and skill level.  A "C" sawyer instructor shall sign the field evaluation form and wallet card.

c.  Minimum recertification requirements for "C" sawyer are as follows:

(1)  Classroom review covering saw policy as related in the Health and Safety Code Handbook and this Regional supplement, securing the felling area, lessons learned, job hazard analysis, and situational awareness review.

(2)  Classroom and field recertification is conducted by a "C" Certifier, who also retains authority to sign field evaluation forms and wallet cards.  However, the classroom instruction may be delegated to a qualified "C" sawyer by direction of the "C" Certifier.

(3)  The Regional Saw Coordinator retains the final authority to approve the "C" sawyer recertification process.

d.  Minimum recertification requirements for "C" Certifiers are listed below:

(1)  Classroom refresher topics, approved by the Regional Saw Coordinator, shall include job hazard analysis, situational awareness, current policy, lessons learned; securing the felling area, human factors, and record-keeping requirements reviews.  Discussion should also include methods of effective sawyer instruction and will serve as a forum for feedback to the instructor.

(2)  Classroom and field recertification is conducted by two "C" Certifiers, who will sign the Field Evaluation Form.

(3)  The Regional Saw Coordinator retains the final authority to approve the "C" Certifier recertification, approve the Field Evaluation Form and sign the wallet card of each successful candidate.

9.  Monitoring.  Monitoring is critical for the prevention of sawyer incidents and accidents and to ensure policy compliance.  This section addresses monitoring requirements for instructors, supervisors, and individual operators.

The Regional and Forest Safety Managers and Saw Coordinators, Unit Coordinators, and first line supervisors share responsibility for routinely observing sawyer operations as part of normal field activity review and should conduct periodic targeted field visits to ensure sawyers are adhering to the approved safe job procedures for all sawyer activities.  The evaluation procedure involves:

a.  Ensuring Unit Coordinators are maintaining accurate, up-to-date sawyer training, certification, and recertification records.

b.  Scheduling and performing field reviews to observe the application of prescribed safe job procedures on projects such as, minimum 2.5 tree length secure area when felling, approved size-up, procedural felling sequence, use of wedges, PPE, established escape routes, and situational awareness.

c.  Reviewing of supervisor and employee participation in the job hazard analysis process.

d.  Assuring supervisors are performing and documenting tailgate meetings.

e.  Taking action to correct unsafe work practices and behavior.

f.  Reviewing supervisor's oversight and effectiveness in instructing and coaching operators who are trainees or have a restricted certification.

g.  Reviewing actions taken to ensure the safety of sawyers, their coworkers, the public and contractors.

22.48b - Exhibit 01

Certification Signature Requirements







(R2 approved form)

One signature for cert/recert:

"C" Sawyer or higher

Same as A

One signature for cert/recert:

 "C" Certifier or professional


Two signatures:

Regional Saw Coordinator and another "C" Certifier or professional


Two signatures:

Any combination of "C" Certifiers or a professional


(valid for 3 years)

"C" Sawyer or higher

Same as A

"C" Certifier

Regional Saw Coordinator

22.48h - Crosscut Saws

3.  Special Requirements for Two-Person Saws.  Two-person crosscut saw use requires that one person be certified at the appropriate level for the task, for example: a certified "A" sawyer may work with an uncertified trainee on an "A" level task as assigned by his immediate supervisor and when all common safety requirements (job-specific JHA, CPR and First Aid, PPE) have been met.  Or a "B" sawyer and a seasonal employee or volunteer with the appropriate and documented tailgate safety session and meeting the requirements above may engage in "B" level crosscut saw assignments.

© 2005-2021 Colorado Firecamp, Inc. home schedule • blogENGBfacilityabout usFAQ's