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Incident management team (IMT)

The Forestry Commission manages the only Type II IMT in South Carolina.

SC Gov. Henry McMaster, center, thanks members of the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s Type II Incident Management Team for their assistance in coordinating emergency response for a variety of disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, floods and evacuations, among others.
SCFC IMT Incident Commander Jonathan Calore outlines search-and-rescue operations at a briefing at the Columbia Fire Department during the 2015 flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin.

The Forestry Commission began developing its Type II Incident Management Team (IMT) in 2006 to ensure that the agency was best prepared to manage large wildfires.
That same year, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) began providing grants to the Forestry Commission to help speed up the development of its IMT and to make it available as a statewide resource. SLED also asked the SCFC to coordinate the development of several Type III teams made up of local government first responders to bring about consistency in the coordination and management of all kinds of incidents.
Today the Forestry Commission still manages the only Type II IMT in South Carolina, with dozens of agency personnel filling the full spectrum of Incident Command System (ICS) positions.
ICS was developed in the 1970s following catastrophic wildfires in California. The purpose of ICS is to:

  • Improve accountability
  • Track resources from all agencies
  • Establish clear chain of command
  • Improve communication
  • Create an orderly, systematic planning process that is scalable to meet the needs of the incident
  • Create a common, predetermined management structure that allows commanders to delegate responsibilities and manage workloads efficiently

Simply put, ICS is a way to efficiently organize a large incident.

Type II IMTs are self-contained, all-hazard or wildland teams recognized at the national and state level, and are coordinated through the state [in South Carolina, through the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED)]. All personnel meet the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) training regimen at the Type II level for their specific positions. IMT members are deployed as a team of 20-35 to support incidents of regional significance and other incidents requiring a large number of local, regional, state and national resources; this includes incidents where operational personnel approach range from 200-500 individuals.
The Forestry Commission’s IMT works regularly with various organizations on training events and real-world disasters, helping them to apply the principles of the Incident Command System framework.  ICS is now widely adopted as the most effective organizational structure for both emergency situations and planned events.

Call-up procedures for the SCFC Type II IMT

  • All requests for the SCFC Incident Management Teams should be made through the SC Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).
  • The Incident Commander or other authorized representative will request IMT assistance from their County EM Director or local dispatch center. 
  • The County EM Director will call the SC Warning Point at (803) 737-8500 and initiate the request.
  • The SC Warning Point will contact the SCEMD Director and Duty Officer who will contact the SCFC Dispatch Center, (800) 777-3473, who will notify the SCFC Duty Officer to coordinate the activation. 
  • In the event that the SCFC IMT is not available, the SCFC Duty Officer will, upon approval of the requesting jurisdiction, request an IMT through the Southeastern States Forest Fire Compact. The requesting jurisdiction will be responsible for all costs associated with out-of-state resources. 
  • The IMT will make contact with the requesting agency/jurisdiction and directly coordinate the response.
  • SC Warning Point will notify all County EM Directors of activation via email or text message.

The SCFC IMT’s real-world deployments (not including annual or other periodic training exercises)

  • 2008: Hurricane Ike; Houston, Texas
  • 2009: Highway 31 Wildfire; Myrtle Beach, SC
  • 2015: Joaquin Flood; Columbia, SC
  • 2016: Hurricane Matthew; N. Charleston, SC – evacuation
  • 2016: Hurricane Matthew; Dillon County, SC – response and recovery
  • 2016: Pinnacle Mountain Fire; Pickens County, SC
  • 2017: Hurricane Harvey; Jefferson County, Beaumont, TX – EOC Assistance response/recovery
  • 2017: Hurricane Maria; NDMS FCC, Columbia Airport, SC
  • 2018: TREX
  • 2019: Operation Seeking Nevaeh; Columbia, SC
  • 2020: COVID PPE Distribution (with SCDHEC); Columbia, SC
  • 2021: COVID Vaccination Clinic; Columbia, SC

For more information, contact SCFC IMT Coordinator Leslie Woodham at lwoodham@scfc.gov or (803) 896-8809.