How to configure a Heavy Equipment Task Force

As used in the Northern Rockies

(Above: screenshot from the video below)

The Northern Rockies Coordinating Group worked with the Montana Logging Association to create this video to educate fire managers about the concept and configuration of Heavy Equipment Task Forces used on timber fires in the Northern Rockies Geographic Area.

The task forces can be configured with the following pieces of equipment:

  • Feller buncher
  • Rubber tired skidder
  • Type 2 Dozer
  • Drop tank skidgen or pumper cat
  • Transport trucks
  • Optional: excavator, boom-mounted masticator, or a second feller buncher

The first 8 minutes and 15 seconds covers how the task forces are organized and fit into the incident management organization. The rest goes into detail about the capabilities of each category of equipment.

The anonymous producer, director, editor, and videographer obviously put a great deal of work into creating this video, using dozens and dozens of clips that clearly illustrate everything mentioned in the narrative. They should get the credit they deserve.


(If the embedded video does not appear above it may be because the Northern Rockies Geographic Area file was moved. If that happens and you know the new location, let us know.)

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Eric. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Heavy equipment operators train for firefighting in Mississippi

Mississippi Equipment Operator Training firefighting
Photo: Mississippi Forestry Commission

Earlier this year Mississippi Forestry Commission technicians took part in a heavy equipment academy to learn safe practices and proper techniques when they suppress wildfires.

Mississippi Equipment Operator Training firefighting
Photo: Mississippi Forestry Commission
Mississippi Equipment Operator Training firefighting
Photo: Mississippi Forestry Commission

Dozer operator killed on prescribed fire in northwest Florida

The operator was working for a prescribed fire contractor

Gonzalez, Florida prescribed fire Map showing the area around Gonzalez, Florida. The red and yellow dots represent heat detected by a satellite on March 21 and 22, 2019.

A man operating a dozer was killed October 9 while working on a prescribed fire in northwest Florida.

Daryl Bradley Holland, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene of the project that was being conducted east of Gonzalez, Florida about 25 air miles northwest of Eglin Air Force Base, and 12 miles north of Pensacola.

Below is an excerpt from an article at NorthEscambia.com:

“He got off in an attempt to remove a tree or large limb lodged in the tracks,” Maj. Andrew Hobbs said Monday afternoon. “The bulldozer wasn’t all the way out of gear. When it was un-jammed, the bulldozer lurched forward.”

Holland was working for HHH Construction of NWF, which was a subcontractor of Munroe Forest & Wildlife Management on the burn, according to Nathalie Bowers, public information officer for the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

The prescribed fire occurred on land administered by the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), a government organization. Their plan, in a March 6 press release, was to conduct the 940-acre burn in the vicinity of the Central Water Reclamation Facility March 7 through March 9.  A “burn-certified contractor” was scheduled to conduct the burn operations as part of ECUA’s management plan for the ecological restoration of forest lands at the site. The property is in the Gonzalez community mostly south of Becks Lake Road, west of the Escambia River.

The map at the top of this article shows heat detected by a satellite in the area described on March 21 and 22.  Heat from the burn operation March 7 through 9 would not show up on the map.

Below is an announcement about the project the ECUA posted on Facebook on March 6.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and coworkers of Mr. Holland.

ECUA prescribed fire announcement

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Brent. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

CAL FIRE receives new dozer and transport

CAL FIRE dozer and transport
New dozer and transport for the Nevada Yuba Placer Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. CAL FIRE photo.

The Nevada Yuba Placer Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection recently received a large piece of fire suppression equipment. (Back in the old days we would lovingly refer to them as a Big Yellow McLeod.)

Here is how it is described by the agency:


CAL FIRE NEU took possession of a new 2018 D6N Caterpillar Dozer and 2019 International HX Series Transport.

The dozer has been modified with an extended track frame which helps with climbing and side hill performance. The engine compartment is configured with a 75 gallon water fire suppression system that can be activated by the operator for fires within the dozer. For operator safety the cab has a pressurized filtration environmental cab system and complete roll over protection system. An advanced lighting package will increase night time vision and allow safer operation under dusty and dark conditions.

The dozer and transport both have the CAL FIRE Automatic Vehicle Location System which operates from radio, satellite, and cellular.

CAL FIRE dozer and transport
New dozer and transport for the Nevada Yuba Placer Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. CAL FIRE photo.

The transport is has a Cummins X15 Performance motor that produces 605 Horse Power and 2050 lb-ft Torque. It is mounted to an 18 speed transmission.

Both Pieces of equipment will service the entire state but are based out of the Nevada City CAL FIRE Station.

One of the two operators assigned to this equipment will be Joe Kennedy recently made famous by videos showing his heroic efforts saving citizens at the Camp Fire in Paradise.

The other operator is Shawn Entz who is a fourth generation Nevada County resident who has over 20 years logging and firefighting in California.


If anyone has a link to the videos referred to above, let us know in a comment.

 

Dozer rollover with injury, Sugar Pine Fire in Oregon

Rapid Lesson Sharing report

Dozer rollover
The dozer after rolling end over end down a steep 175-foot slope.

The description of a dozer rollover in a Rapid Lesson Sharing report indicates that the operator is lucky to be alive after the dozer tumbled end over end for 175 feet down a steep slope. In spite of the serious injuries, several things contributed to getting the patient to a hospital in one hour and 40 minutes in the middle of the night, including having a paramedic and a stokes litter nearby.

The accident occurred on the Sugar Pine Fire 11 air miles northwest of Prospect, Oregon.

There have been too many incidents involving dozers this summer. They are tagged “dozer” here on Wildfire today.

Below is the narrative from the RLS report. The full document with successes and lessons can be downloaded HERE.


On July 30, 2018 at 1:04 a.m., approximately one mile northwest of DP 25, a dozer slipped off the edge of a logging road and tumbled down end-over-end, 175 feet to the bottom of a ravine.

A Paramedic, fireline overhead, and a hand crew quickly responded to the accident site.

Within approximately five minutes, the Paramedic and a crew member were on scene conducting patient evaluation and providing medical treatment. The patient had a broken hip, ribs, and head lacerations.

The fire overhead directed crew members to cut a switchback trail to the bottom of the hill where the Paramedic was treating the patient. The patient was assessed/stabilized/packaged and transported in a Stokes basket to the top of the hill. Crews then loaded him into a vehicle for transport to a waiting ambulance.

The Deputy IC, Unit Medical Leader located in the communications tent had directed the ambulance to meet the truck with the patient on a nearby paved road. When the truck arrived, the patient was quickly transferred to the back of the ambulance then transported to the Medford Medical Center.

After the patient was evaluated, he was transported via Life Flight and admitted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

(end of excerpt from report)


dozer rollover
3-D map of the general area where the dozer rolled down the slope.

Dozer operator killed in vehicle accident in California

He was driving to the North Fire on I-80

Tuesday morning September 11 at about 5:45 a.m., Antonio (Tony) Flores 37, an employee of Kent Siller Trucking, was involved in a fatal vehicle accident on Interstate 80 near Blue Canyon, California between Sacramento and Reno. Mr. Flores was assigned to the North Fire as a private contractor operating a bulldozer. He was driving to the incident command post at the Blue Canyon Airport.

Incident Commander Curtis Coots said that the personnel working on the North Fire are deeply saddened by the death of a fellow firefighter. “This has been an extremely tough fire season for our firefighters both physically and emotionally”, Mr. coots said.

Mr. Flores is survived by his wife of 18 years and four children, ranging in ages from 9 to 16 years old. He is a lifelong resident of the Yuba City area.

He has worked for Kent Siller Trucking for more than 20 years as a master mechanic and heavy equipment operator.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the Placer County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.

Since it started September 3 the North Fire has burned 1,120 acres nine miles northeast of Alta, Calif. It has not grown in the last 24 hours and will transition back to the local unit today, September 12.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Flores’ family, friends, and co-workers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.