Level 1 Risk Mitigation-Waiver Process

Photo showing medical support on the 2020 Tadpole Fire.

During the first level of the risk mitigation and waiver process, you will work with your Fire Management Officer (FMO) and human resource staff to conduct a risk assessment and determine if the risks associated with your non-qualifying medical condition can be mitigated. 

For FMOs and human resources staff, it is important to remain in contact with the wildland firefighter or applicant throughout this process. Example correspondence is available for each step.


Level one of the risk mitigation and waiver process may take no more than 60 days to complete. For medical conditions that are not complex, the process may be completed in less than two weeks.

  • 5 days to return the opportunity memo and choose to participate in the risk mitigation and waiver process
  • 14 days to gather the required documentation identified in the opportunity memo
  • 15 days to request an extension, which must be acknowledged by the FMO
  • 30 days to draft a risk mitigation and waiver memo with your FMO 

You may request a 15-day extension or opt out of the process at any time.


After requesting to participate in the risk mitigation and waiver process, you will meet with your FMO and human resources staff. It is important to bring certain documents to the discussion, including:

  • Your most recent not qualified determination letter
  • A description of your work experience pertinent to arduous duty activities.
  • Your incident qualifications and certification system records
  • A description of the measures you will use to mitigate the risk posed by your medical conditions


You will collectively review your application with your FMO and human resources staff and conduct an interactive risk assessment.

The assessment will consider the following items:

  • The medical condition and the rationale for arduous duty disqualification
  • Medically-imposed job restrictions or limitations
  • Your relevant employment history and qualifications
  • Changes in health status between fire seasons
  • Whether or not the medical condition is static and stable
  • Prescription drug efficacy 
  • Work conditions (e.g., working alone, on call for 24 hours, remote locations, heat, and environmental contaminants)
  • Whether your stature or body symmetry exceeds the limitations of any personal protective equipment
  • Physical limitations that preclude you from being able to perform the full range of wildland firefighting tasks

If the group determines that no mitigations are appropriate or required, you may still be considered for a waiver. It is also possible that the risks of the non-qualification issue cannot be mitigated sufficiently for you to safely perform arduous duties.

After the assessment is completed:

  • Human resources staff will refer the risk mitigation and waiver decision to your FMO for review.
  • Within five working days, your bureau's Medical Standards Program lead should review the draft risk mitigation and waiver decision and provide advice to the FMO and human resources staff. 
  • Within five working days, human resources staff will forward the draft decision to the management official.
  • The management official will make the final determination, which could be acceptable risk, acceptable risk with conditions, or unacceptable risk.
  • The signed risk mitigation and waiver decision will be sent to the FMO and human resources staff for you to sign.

If you do not receive a favorable decision in the first-level review, you can choose to pursue the second level of the risk mitigation and waiver process.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, review our frequently asked questions for the Interior's Wildland Fire Medical Standards Program

For one-on-one technical assistance or questions, please contact us at wlffcsr@blm.gov.

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