In the area where I live there is a lot of emphasis placed on wild-land firefighting. Most departments have at least minimal wild land firefighting capability and many have a significant capability, both in equipment and apparatus.
Many agencies have specialized engines for fighting wildfire or fighting fire in the urban - wildland interface. While out and about the other day, I snapped some photographs of some of these specialized units.
All of these features make it better equipped to handle under-improved roads, long narrow driveways and other areas where the "pavement queens" dare not go. These are a relatively new concept in the fire service, but are gaining popularity, especially in communities with a high interface risk.
They carry a large amount of wild land hose, usually at least 1000' of 1 1/2" single jacket. Hose lays exceeding 3000 - 4000 feet are not unheard of, with all of it being packed in on someones back. The basic wildland hose lay evolution is simple yet highly efficient. A crew well practiced in it is a joy to watch.
This is a water tender. Known as a tanker in other parts of the country, it's sole purpose is to provide water to engines when operating at a wildland fire. They usually carry only enough hose for a protection line and very little equipment. This one is rather small, which makes it more suitable to dirt roads, fields and trails. It holds 1500 gallons of water, just about enough to fill three engines. These units are extremely valuable in areas where water supplies are scarce and are always being called out to assist other agencies.
This is a crew bus, it's job is to transport hand crew, their foreman and their equipment to the fire. A hand crew consists of 12 to 20 firefighters who use chainsaws and hand tools to create fireline. It is grueling, hard work. This particular crew is an inmate crew, one who's members are in state prison and who serve their sentences working on a crew. Cal-fire relies heavily on inmate crews, most if not all Cal-Fire crews are inmates. Other agencies have inmate and non-custodial hand crews.
Typically, it is the hand crews who work the hardest on large wildfires, their work continuing long after the fire is out.
On the fireline, an inmate's personal protective equipment will be orange. those in yellow are not. In this photo, the guy in yellow is the crew supervisor. Strict rules are in place about interacting with inmates, contact with them is prohibited. Issues with inmates a relatively rare, as it is a privilege for them to be on a crew.One bad word from the supervisor and the inmate is back inside. On extended incidents, a prison guard will be present as well, though the guard usually does not go on the line.
As fire season progresses, I will likely have more pictures to share. Hope your weekend goes well.
Thanks for reading,