Unit of competency details

PUAFIR511 - Conduct complex prescribed burns (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 02/May/2013
(View details for release 1) Replaced13/Mar/2013

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Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PUA12 - Public Safety Training PackagePublic Safety Training Package 2.1 
FWP - Forest and Wood Products Training PackageForest and Wood Products Training Package 2.0-4.0 
FPI11 - Forest and Forest Products Training PackageForest and Forest Products Training Package 2.3 


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 039905 Fire Technology  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 039905 Fire Technology  03/Oct/2013 
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Modification History


TP Version  



PUA12 V2.1

Editorial changes.


PUA12 V2

New unit.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the competency required to prepare and conduct complex prescribed burns in accordance with approved burn plans.

A prescribed burn is the controlled application of fire under specified environmental conditions to a predetermined area and at the time, intensity and rate of spread required to attain planned resource management objectives.

An approved prescribed burn plan includes a map identifying the area to be burned, and incorporates the specifications and conditions under which the operation is to be conducted.

Complex prescribed burns are characterised by moderate to high risk, a range of fire intensity, medium to large areas, significant potential impact on assets and involve a variety of fuels and terrain.

The burn operation may involve a large number of resources requiring the establishment of a formal management and support structure. It may require several separate ignitions (ground and/or aerial), possibly over several days. It may have a number of high value assets requiring complex protection actions.

Compliance with legislative or regulatory requirements will be required.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to personnel responsible for preparing, conducting and evaluating simple and complex prescribed burns on public and private land.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


PUAFIR303B Suppress wildfire

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance Criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the Range Statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare to burn 

1.1 Simple  and complex burn operations  are identified in accordance with organisational procedures, legislative and regulatory requirements.

1.2 Contingency plan  is reviewed based on local conditions at the time of burn  and communicated to all personnel.

1.3 Permits are obtained in accordance with organisational procedures, legislative and regulatory requirements.

1.4 Burn notifications  and plans are issued to person/s or organisations  in accordance with organisational procedures and legislative requirements.

1.5 Resource requirements  are identified with reference to burn plan.

1.6 Control lines are specified and prepared in accordance with organisational procedures.

1.7 Assets  are protected in accordance with organisational procedures.

1.8 Required preparatory hazard mitigation and asset protection works programs are carried out in line with the plan.

1.9 Weather conditions  are monitored.

2. Conduct burn 

2.1 Day of burn notifications are issued.

2.2 Pre burn checks are conducted.

2.3 Resources are gathered and personnel briefed and deployed in accordance with burn plan.

2.4 Lighting techniques, patterns  and lighting sequence  are implemented in accordance with plan or organisational procedures.

2.5 Burning is monitored  to ensure safety and operational changes are made as required.

2.6 Contingencies are implemented in accordance with burn plan as required for the duration of the burn.

2.7 Burn records are kept in accordance with organisational procedures.

2.8 Burn operations are concluded  and burn security  is implemented in accordance with organisational requirements.

2.9 Crews are debriefed and resources released from the burn.

2.10 Incidents are reported and investigated in accordance with organisational procedures.

3. Conduct post burn activities 

3.1 Outcomes of the burn  are assessed and reported.

3.2 Variations from burn plan are reported in accordance with organisational procedures.

3.3 Restoration and rehabilitation works  are identified and/or carried out in accordance with organisational requirements.

3.4 Prescribed burn activities are recorded in accordance with organisational procedures.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required Skills 

  • apply fuel sampling methods
  • apply ignition patterns and techniques
  • conduct briefings and debriefings
  • establish control lines for prescribed burns
  • interpret a complex prescribed burn plan
  • interpret existing and forecast weather conditions
  • interpret fire behaviour conditions
  • manage teams
  • monitor patrol activities
  • monitor the burn
  • plan for contingencies
  • use fire prediction tools

Required Knowledge 

  • fire prediction tools and their use
  • fuel sampling methods
  • ignition patterns and techniques
  • legislative and organisational policy and procedures for conducting a prescribed burn
  • legislative, regulatory and organisational authorisations required for conducting a burn
  • procedures for monitoring prescribed burns and securing burn
  • resource requirements
  • safe work practices
  • seasonal restrictions on prescribed burns
  • types of prescribed burns

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Assessment must confirm the ability to:

  • implement a complex burn plan for a designated area
  • conduct an effective operational briefing and debriefing
  • conduct an effective burn, utilising the appropriate resources and record actions taken
  • conclude activities once the burn is completed

Consistency in performance 

Competency should be demonstrated in an operational environment.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Context of assessment 

Evidence collected from undertaking a complex prescribed burn is required.

Specific resources for assessment 

Access is required to:

  • complex prescribed burn plans
  • fire management plans
  • lighting equipment
  • suppression equipment
  • lighting and suppression crews

Method of assessment 

In a public safety environment assessment is usually conducted via direct observation in a training environment or in the workplace via subject matter supervision and/or mentoring, which is typically recorded in a competency workbook.

Assessment is completed using appropriately qualified assessors who select the most appropriate method of assessment.

Assessment may occur in an operational environment or in an agency-approved simulated work environment. Forms of assessment that are typically used include:

  • direct observation
  • interviewing the candidate
  • journals and workplace documentation
  • third party reports from supervisors
  • written or oral questions

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording in the Performance Criteria is detailed below.

Simple burn  may be characterised by:

  • completed in one shift
  • involves minimal variation of fuels and terrain
  • low intensity
  • low potential impact on assets
  • low risk
  • small area

Complex burn  may be characterised by:

  • involvement of a variety of fuels and terrain
  • medium to large areas
  • moderate to high risk
  • range of fire intensity
  • significant potential impact on assets

Burn operations  must include:

  • simple burns
  • complex burns

Contingency plan  may include:

  • command structure
  • dealing with escapes
  • resource requirements
  • safety considerations (such as escape routes and safety zones) resource breakdowns
  • special resources/secondary control lines
  • wind changes

Local conditions at the time 

of burn  may include:

  • actual or anticipated changes in conditions
  • weather conditions (temperature, relative humidity, wind, atmospheric stability, drought index, weather forecasts, fire danger index)

Burn notifications  may include:

  • verbal notification
  • written notification

Person/s or organisations  may include:

People or organisations who:

  • may have adjacent land to which a burn could spread
  • have an interest in managing the consequences of a burn
  • have an interest in specific assets
  • have an interest in the area to be burned
  • may be concerned by evidence of a burn

Resource requirements  may include:

  • contingency resources
  • crews for aircraft ground support
  • crews for control and suppression
  • crews for ground ignition
  • equipment and supplies
  • logistical support
  • navigators, bombardiers for aerial ignition
  • tankers
  • other vehicles

Assets  may include:

  • area of rare or sensitive flora and fauna
  • buildings
  • camps or recreational areas
  • crops
  • cultural values
  • historic relics
  • machinery
  • other property
  • plantations
  • research plots, reference areas
  • utilities (power and telephone lines, water supply structures,
  • communications towers)

Weather conditions  must include:

  • relative humidity
  • temperature
  • wind

Lighting techniques and 

patterns  may include:

  • contour lighting
  • echelon
  • grid
  • line
  • multi-line
  • spot

Lighting sequence  may include:

  • fuel hazard
  • slope
  • time of day
  • wind direction

Monitoring burn  may include:

  • fire development and spread
  • flame height
  • fuel moisture content
  • observations
  • predictions
  • rate of spread
  • recording
  • safety consideration
  • smoke development
  • weather observation

Conclusion and burn security activities  may include:

  • mitigating hazards for public safety such as checking trees for falling limbs
  • mopping-up/blacking out
  • patrolling burn area
  • reopening roads

Outcomes of the burn  may include:

  • achievement of burn objectives
  • escapes
  • external impacts
  • levels of scorch
  • percentage of area burnt

Restoration and rehabilitation works  may include:

  • restoring areas disturbed by machinery
  • control lines
  • repairing fences
  • re-vegetation of damaged areas
  • vehicle tracks

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

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