The transition from one level of operation to a next larger, more complex level while maintaining coherence as a system has stymied organizational theorists for decades. Drawing on concepts from systems theory, network analysis, and collaborative governance, we investigate transition in rapidly escalating, massively complex, urgent events to focus on intelligence networks in extreme hazards. We examine the transition process in rapidly escalating wildfires as a case study in dynamic adaptation among multiple organizations seeking to achieve the shared goal of protecting communities at risk. We use data from Incident Reports filed by CalFire field personnel to create a preliminary system dynamics model that simulates the interaction among key components active in the 2020 Santa Clara Unit (SCU) Lightning Complex Fire. We conclude that systematic integration of human, signal, imagery, and open-source forms of intelligence regarding emergence and escalation of hazards provides invaluable support to decision makers confronting extreme events.