STIHL recalls 100,000 chainsaws

(Updated at 1:09 p.m. MST February 24, 2017)

Stihl chain saw MS 461 recall
The STIHL MS 461 chainsaw, often used by wildland firefighters, is one of four models being recalled.

Today the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of 100,000 STIHL chainsaws that are at risk of fire and burn hazards. The saws being recalled are:

  • MS 461
  • MS 461 R
  • MS 461 R Rescue
  • GS 461 Rock Boss.

The first three are used by firefighters. The last two were not included in STIHL’s official recall notice but a company representative we talked to at the STIHL recall office confirmed they are also on the list.

STIHL Inc. has received 117 reports of pinched or leaking fuel lines but the company reports they are unaware of any damage or injuries caused by the possible defect.

Recalled chainsaws have a serial number between 173092800 and 181993952 under the front hand guard on the engine housing’s sprocket side. The models affected were sold for approximately $1,000 from July 2012 through December 2016.

The recommendation is that owners of the saws immediately stop using them and take them to an authorized STIHL dealer for a free inspection and repair.

STIHL MS 461 R has the added wrap-around handle.
The MS 461 R Rescue
The MS 461 R Rescue has a tool holder, extra large wrap-around handle, chip deflector, and can have an optional depth limiter. It is often used by structural firefighters, according to STIHL, “to access trouble spots, provide additional ventilation, or assist with Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) operations”.
The GS 461 Rock Boss
The GS 461 Rock Boss is for cutting concrete.

MS 461’s are sometimes used by wildland firefighters for constructing fireline and felling trees. This model has been cited in at least one report of a different problem — vapor lock that can result in the engine dying. When the operator removes the gas cap to check on the fuel level, occasionally a “fuel geyser” sprays pressurized gas. This has caused serious burn injuries when the fuel ignites.

Here is a link to the official CPSC recall notice for the pinched or leaking fuel line issue. The STIHL website has a list of seven recalls for various products.

(After calling and talking with the STIHL recall office, the article was updated at 1:09 p.m. MST February 24, 2017 to include two other models of chainsaws that were recalled but not included in the official notice from Stihl and the CPSC. Those two additional saws are the MS 461 R Rescue and the GS 461 Rock Boss concrete saw)

Investigators determine cause of fire in Washington that burned 61 homes

air tanker drops on Taylor Bridge fire
Tanker 489, a Lockheed L-188A Electra, drops on the Taylor Bridge fire August 14 at the Sunlight Waters housing development, as the fire advances on the community near Cle Elum, Washington. Photo by, and used with permission from, Joshua Trujillo / SeattlePI

Fire investigators from the Washington state Department of Natural Resources have determined that the Taylor Bridge fire was caused by a construction crew working on a bridge on Highway 10. The fire destroyed 61 homes and blackened about 23,000 acres southeast of Cle Elum. It started on August 13 about 30 feet from where one worker was cutting rebar with a STIHL power saw on the bridge deck and where a second worker was welding under the bridge.

The contractors were working on a state Transportation Department project during a period when industrial activity was supposed to be shut down because of high fire danger.

During the construction work a water truck was on site but the operator was away on an errand and no one else on site knew how to run it. Some workers connected a garden hose to the truck but the “trickle of water”, according to the report, was not effective in stopping the fire. Fire extinguishers on the project were scarce so employees used shovels to fight the fire, at least until it went over the hill.

The investigation found that there had been two other unreported fires on the project earlier that had been put out by employees.

The two companies working on the project were Conway Construction of Ridgefield and a subcontractor, Rainier Steel of Auburn.

The DNR is consulting with the Attorney General’s office about their options to recover a portion of the $11 million spent fighting the fire.

Commercials – the good and the bad

Commercials. We all hate them. Or most of them anyway. I almost can’t watch the network evening news programs because I get tired of the prescription drug commercials. They are not at all entertaining and seem to go on for hours with their list of possible side effects.

Or the boner pill ads. Geeze. WHO among us has two old free-standing bathtubs next to each other out in a pasture unconnected to any plumbing?

So I change the channel.

But there are a few good commercials. Like the Old Spice ones featuring Isaiah Mustafa:

Here is a link to another one in which he uses a STIHL chain saw as a prop.

And I almost hate to admit it but the Progressive Insurance commercials featuring Flo are pretty good. At least until they started running 5,395 of them each hour.

But not everybody is tired of Flo, including the 756,000 people that “like” her Facebook page. Or the 500 people that posted their pictures of themselves dressed up as Flo, mostly for Halloween I assume. I mean…. why else?! (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt!) The real Flo is on the left, below.


But one of the best commercials is this one. It almost makes me want a minivan. Ummm. No, not really. But check it out.

What commercials would YOU nominate for the best and worst?

STIHL automatic calendar

Stihl Autumn CalendarMany of the chain saws used by wildland firefighters are made by STIHL. And in the eastern part of the United States some organizations use Stihl leaf blowers to build firelines in hardwood forests.

STIHL’s advertising agency, Euro RSCG of Germany, created the STIHL Autumn Calendar 2010 which every day automatically sheds the page for each day as it passes. It is a giveaway item to help market their leaf blowers.

Here’s a video showing it in action, set to the “Autumn” concerto of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons:

And, in case you wanted one, like I did, the calendar is only available in Great Britain.