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Ground Equipment

NCDFR tractor-plow unitBulldozers/Tractor Plows
NCFS's specially equipped bulldozers are a vital part of the agency's wildfire suppression efforts. Several models of these machines are strategically stationed around the state. The terrain in any given area determines the size and model of the machines. Smaller dozers, some equipped with 6 way blades for working on slopes, are generally stationed in the upper piedmont and mountains. Larger dozers, some with pressure-reducing wide tracks for wet areas are generally located in the lower piedmont and coastal counties. While plowing fire-breaks is the dozer's primary duty, they are also utilized during times of natural disaster to clear debris. In the mountain regions they have also been used to remove snow and even to tow stranded vehicles from impassable roads. Each bulldozer has a Forest Fire Equipment Operator assigned to it. These operators tow their dozers on "low-boy" tractor-trailers to needed locations. The operators are trained for the unique challenges of fire suppression and are able to work in difficult, often dangerous conditions

Type 6 and 7 Engines
Probably the pieces of equipment most frequently seen by the public, the Type 6 and 7 engines are much more than four-wheel-drive pickups. In addition to a two-way radio for communication with state and local agencies each unit is equipped with a tank of fire retardant averaging about 200 gallons in capacity. Most units are also able to fill their own tanks from an available water source. Units are also supplied with a hose and reel to apply the retardant. In addition, each truck serves as a storage container for an assortment of wildland fire hand tools and safety equipment. Usually the first units on the scene of a fire, and the last to leave, the agency would find fire suppression a much more difficult task without these important vehicles.

These former military vehicles perform a variety of tasks for the NCFS. Usually equipped with both fire-retardants applicators and a specially built flame-thrower, the surprisingly light, all aluminum Full-Track can cover rough terrain that would defeat other modes of transportation. Rubber pads allow it to travel safely on paved roads without causing damage, while not affecting its tremendous off-road capabilities. The full-track can even float with the aid of an available kit, and even without, can run comfortably through up to four feet of water. The air-powered flame thrower mounted on most of the vehicles allow them to rapidly set back-fires in situations too hazardous for hand crews while the 400 gallon capacity of its fire retardant tank is equaled only by the agency's aircraft.

Flex Tract/Go Tract 2000
Most of these Canadian made multi-purpose high flotation two-tracked vehicles are stationed for use in the far eastern parts of state where there are poorly drained soils and rough terrain. These units are capable of traversing a wide variety of adverse landscapes, including sand, mud, muskeg, swamp and snow. They are commonly equipped with auxiliary equipment such as retardant tanks, hose, pumps, and an air-powered flame thrower.

This page updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:12

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