Thursday, July 8, 2010

Somebody is Getting a New Engine

I stopped by the fire engine store the other day and spotted this beauty.

It is going to the San Bernardino National Forest, located in Southern California. It is a Type 3 engine, one that is designed to meet the Forest Service's needs  while fighting wildfires.

I have always liked USFS engines, I think they are well designed, functional and built to last. This one has a few unique features which I like and think the K.B.F.P.D. would do well to copy.

I like the rear mount pump panel. I think it provides for better visibility when pumping. Just a few steps and you have a great view of three sides of the unit. It might be a disadvantage when working on a highway, but it might not be a common occurrence for this engine. I also like the ladder to the top of the rig and the step to the ladder.

It has a fairly spacious cab and plumbed in foam. One thing it doesn't have though, is four wheel drive. I like the added margin of capability that four wheel drive provides. Obviously, the USFS doesn't think this rig needs it, so they saved the added expense. It is still a very nice engine.

This new engine also came equipped with fancy new yellow safety vests. I felt safer just knowing they were in there. Maybe they counteract the added risk of a rear mount pump panel.

I am not sure what station this engine will be assigned to, I don't recognize the number. To my knowledge their stations are assigned two digit numbers. Regardless, some lucky crew is getting a new ride.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Capt. Schmoe,
    Thanks for your great pictures!


  2. Nice looking piece. Pretty different from what we see here in FL, although with the terrain out West, I can see the need you have for it. I find it interesting to hear/see about the differences in wildland tactics/equipment and such (the whole tanker/tender naming was the latest craze here...makes sense to get all the terminology the same). On paper, we break our apparatus into "types", but for the most part we've got structural engines, and "brush trucks". Brush trucks run the gamut, and can be anything from a 1/2 ton pickup with a skid pump, to military surplus "Deuce-and-a-half" and "five ton" trucks. Being that Florida is what many would consider "flat", many of our fires are fairly slow moving, wind permitting (nothing like those Santa Ana's). We usually call out a Div. of Forestry tractor with our assignments, and they're good about quickly getting a line around it. The brush trucks then usually just wet down the outside of the line and keep any spotovers in check. On a side note, some good bets have been won when out of state help is sure that "those palmetto groves won't burn...they're green." Anyway, enough rambling, thanks for the post.

  3. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    It IS a beauty. And it looks like a lot of thoughtfulness in the design, too!

    Ah, I am left like a novice painter in critique: "I like the color." However, like that novice painter, I have learned something I can use next time.

    Thank you!
    Ann T.

  4. Nice write up on our new engine design. The new Forest Service numbering system added an additional number to our vehicles based upon the NWCG typing. Not sure if this is needed wit our already overloaded radio systems.

    So you'll start seeing engines such as E-333 (Mormon Rocks), E-337 (Etiwanda), and E-336 (Waterman). You'll also start seeing stupid things like PT-735 (Banning) and PT-636 (Waterman).

    For some reason, our agency wants to confuse everyone with the new numbering... go figure, the decision was made in D.C.

    Take care,

  5. Cool Unit!!

    And your plane pics are up! ;) And I found some of your brothers in Fort Worth.

  6. Brad - I like to take pictures, especially of airplanes, wiener dogs and firetrucks. I am glad you enjoy them.

    Nate Q - the varying fire problems throughout the country must present challenges to agencies like the Forest Service, BLM and NPS. They see it all. We use "dozers" out here for some things, both in direct and indirect mode. They don't always work too well up high in the timber though.

    Ann T. - I too like the color, I hope they stick with it. I think the Park Service uses white with brown trim, BLM uses lime green/yellow on their engines, but I thought I saw a white one last season.

    Rambling Chief - It's a beauty alright, well done. Thanks for the new numbering system info, I'm sure we'll all get used to it sooner or later. Where is it going to go? I can't find 318 assigned anywhere.

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

  7. I have always wondered as to why do you have side mounted pumps in the states. Here in croatia they are all rear mounted, and all rigs have what You seem to like on the brush rig :)
    However there is a different division of weichles (there are many types).

  8. Vejan - I am unsure why our apparatus usually have pump panels mounted on the right side. I estimate 95% of the engines in the western U.S. have panels on the left side of the engine, 4% have top mounted pump panels less than 1% with rear or front mount panels.

    I have NEVER seen a pump panel on the right side of an engine in the US.

    Personally, as I work near some very busy highways, the rear mount panel for our structure engine might not work for us. I wouldn't want to be standing at the rear of the engine when some distracted driver ran into it. Top mounted panels are good for the highway.

    Thanks for commenting.