Wildland Firefighting Apparatus

Dan Cimini

Firefighting apparatus have advanced throughout the last four centuries allowing fire departments to purchase equipment more specialized and designed to fit certain applications.   

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1901 is the Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, which classifies vehicles by type and function. It was developed to create universal fire truck standards and terminology to help fire departments find an apparatus that will fit their needs. 

NFPA 1906 is the Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus

Fire Engine Types and Classification

Type 1 Fire Engine

Commonly referred to as a structural engine and is the most common type of fire apparatus in use today. Populated areas depend on a Type 1 fire apparatus, which carries anywhere from 500 to 1000 gallons of water. In addition, Type 1 apparatus can be equipped to carry 4 to 6 firefighters and carry many different types of specialized equipment dependent on the department’s needs. 

Type Fire Engine 2 

A Type 2 fire Engine features many of the same specifications and tools as a Type 1 fire engine. They are the typical truck used in suburban areas. Commercial chassis apparatus is more compact but still holds the same amount of equipment as Type 1. Type 2 engines can be equipped to carry 2 to 4 firefighters or more and carry many different types of specialized equipment dependent on the department’s needs. 

Type of Wildland Fire Engines

Type 3, Type 4, Type 5, Type 6, and Type 7 engines are considered “wildland engines” or “brush trucks.” These are vehicles that respond to wildfires and are capable of driving in rough terrain to respond to a fire or rescue. Wildland engines are specially designed to allow pump-and-roll operations. 

Type 3 Fire Engine

Type 3 has a maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 lbs. The minimum number of personnel a Type 3 must carry is 3. Type 3 brush trucks are required to have a minimum of 500 US gallons of water and pump 150 US gallons per minute at a pressure of 250 psi. Type 3 and Type 4 often look like one another. However, the biggest difference is their minimum personnel and tank capacities. 

Type 4 Fire Engine

Type 4 Wildland engine is like a Type 3 but with very important differences. Type 4 has a maximum gross weight of 26,000 lbs., but it is equipped with a smaller pump and less hose for a larger 750-gallon tank. The 4 Type standard of pumping is 50 GPM at a pressure of 100 psi. The minimum number of personnel a Type 4 must carry is 2. 

Type 5, Type 6, and Type 7 Fire Engine

Types 5, 6, and 7 are usually built specifically for the department’s needs. These vehicles are typically 4-wheel drive pick-up trucks. These units are often seen in both wildland and suburban settings. They have a much smaller configuration than a typical Type 3 or 4 engine. The smaller body allows the department to carry 50 to 400 gallons of water with the maneuverability and accessibility that the Type 3 or 4 do not. 

Types 5, 6, and 7 are used heavily for the initial fire suppression response, and their GVWRs are rated in order from 26,000 lbs. in Type 5 engines to 14,000 in Type 7. 

The Type 5, 6, and 7 are designed to hold a minimum of 2 people and carry hose diameters ranging from 1 inch to 1 ½ inch. 

Each type of engine has its own unique set of requirements to ensure optimal performance. To better understand wildland fire engine requirements, the following are the minimum requirements for each.

Type 3 engine requirements

Minimum pump flow: 150 GPM at a rated pressure of 250 PSI

Minimum tank
capacity: 500 gallons

Maximum tank
capacity: 1,500 gallons

Hose length: 

n 1 ½ inch: 1,000 feet

n 1 inch: 500 feet

Minimum number of personnel: 3

Maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): greater than 26,000 lbs.

Type 4 engine requirements

Minimum pump flow: 50 GPM at a rated pressure of 100 PSI

Minimum tank capacity: 750 gallons

Maximum tank
capacity: 1500 gallons

Hose length: 

n 1 ½ inch: 300 feet

n 1 inch: 300 feet

Minimum number of personnel: 2

Maximum gross vehicle
weight rating (GVWR):
greater than 26,000 lbs.

Type 5 engine requirements

Minimum pump flow: 50 GPM at a rated pressure of 100 PSI

Minimum tank capacity: 400 gallons

Maximum tank capacity: 750 gallons

Hose length: 

– 1 ½ inch: 300 feet

– 1 inch: 300 feet

Minimum number of personnel: 3

Maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): 26,000 lbs.

Type 6 engine requirements

Minimum pump flow: 50 GPM at a rated pressure of 100 PSI

Maximum tank
capacity: 400 gallons

Hose length: 

– 1 ½ inch: 300 feet

– 1 inch: 300 feet

Minimum number of personnel: 2

Maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): 19,500 lbs.

Type 7 engine requirements

Minimum pump flow: 10 GPM

Minimum tank capacity: 50 gallons

Maximum tank capacity: 200 gallons

Hose length: 

– 1 inch: 200 feet

Minimum number of personnel: 2

Maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): 14,000 lbs.

OTHER TYPES OF WILDLAND EQUIPMENT

Water Tenders

Water tenders carry large amounts of water ranging in size from 1500 gallons to as much as 8,000 gallons which are utilized in refilling the engines while they are working on the fire. Each type of apparatus plays a particular role based on the needs of the fire department.

The area of use will be a major factor in the type of vehicle that will be used to move the water to the fire and range from large straight tankers to tractor-trailers.

Picture1 Picture2

Dozers 

Wildland dozers are specially designed construction equipment that is modified for wildland firefighting. They are used to cut fire breaks and clear large areas to decrease the burn area.

These units are typically used by the forestry service on a large brush and wood fires.

Wildland fire fighting is a very specialized operation, and the equipment used is very different from the everyday structure firefighting operation.

Besides the NFPA Standards, there are many agencies that have information on the various Wildland Apparatus, equipment, and standards, such as:

US Forest Service

National Interagency Fire Center

NWCG National Wildfire Coordinating Group

FEMA

NIMS

It is important for fire departments to research these agencies before building specifications for a new purchase or retrofitting a vehicle to be used as a Wildland fire fighting vehicle.

DanCiminiDan Cimini is the former Fire Chief of the the Surfside Beach Fire Dept in South Carolina. He is past president of the South Carolina State Fire Chiefs’ Association, the South Carolina Fire Service Joint Council, the Horry Georgetown Fire Chiefs’ Association, and he received the honor of Chief Emeritus as a volunteer fire fighter at the Runnemede Fire Dept in Runnemede, New Jersey.

 

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