Wildland equipment from the SE USA

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Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:32 pm

Some of the equipment I found on my trip to the south

Not unfamiliar to my other travels Type 6 engines are popular everywhere

Florida Forest Service Type 6 engine

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Model 52 from the Cherokee National Forest (Tennessee). These were a very common USFS type 6 until the past few years being used in the Southwest, Northern, Eastern and South East regions.

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A very basic but effective locally built Type 6 engine used by the USAF at Eglin AFB

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Less common to see in the west except as a 1 person patrol unit, the National Forests in Alabama prefer lighter Type 7 engines over type 6. This one is built on a 3/4 ton truck and has 150 gallons of water (Type 6 have a minimum of 200, and often closer to 300).

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:39 pm

The use of dozers / tractors is much more common than out west, although the preference is for much smaller equipment. It is rare to see a dozer on a 10 wheel truck in the west, usually seeing tractor trailers.

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Further south Tractor plows were far more common

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Tractor plows come in two configurations, a tractor mounted "stinger plow" which is more maneuverable

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or a larger tow behind unit which digs deeper and makes a wider line.

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:44 pm

The use of Quads and UTVs was far more wide spread, most being used for more than simple transport.

This quad has a rear mounted flame thrower with 11 gallons of fuel, and a 7 gallon water tank with a small electric pump on the front.

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Bobcat UTV with a small (30 gallon?) plastic tank and small pump

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This was a more elaborate set up, 90 gallons of water and a 10 gpm pump which technically makes this a type 7 engine.

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:59 pm

Last the more unusual equipment

I've seen similar vehicles in the Pacific North West where they are known as Skidgines (Skidder / Engine) being based on old logging equipment. This one was built on an old military tractor and was locally known as a soft track. It has a 200 gallon tank and 85 gpm pump which makes it a tracked type 6 engine.

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Southern Florida has a fairly unique piece of equipment, the Swamp Buggy. Most used the mechanicals from a Chevy S-10 (engines, transmissions etc) and tractor wheels / tires. I think this is what you get if a monster truck and a party barge have a baby.


Sort of a hybrid transporter / engine, this one could easily carry 6 firefighters and had an 80 gallon tank in the "floor", it used a small electric pump with garden hose.

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A smaller buggy used by Law Enforcement

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More of a suppression unit, this one had a 200 gallon tank and an 85gpm pump under the floor (pump inside the screened area at the back). Only 2 seats but can easily carry 2 or 3 additional firefighters sitting on the tool boxes.

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Similar buggy with a 3rd seat in the back and the pump mounted on the side

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Transport only, it has seats for 6, but can easily carry 8 or 9 if needed. No water or pump on this one.

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I do have additional detail photos of many of these vehicles if anyone decides to build one.
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby jimb on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:23 pm

That's some pretty cool looking stuff. Looks like you had some fun in the swamps!
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Modelmaker on Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:33 am

Really neat pix, Thanks for sharing them with the group....Some really interesting apparatus there.....Gary
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Robbo on Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:32 pm

Good well framed and exposed pictures for interesting subject matter.

Cheers from Robbo.
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby bigdogb25 on Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:50 pm

Cool Stuff as always Aaron. I've got a glue bomb unimog kit I was thinking about doing a swamp buggy with. I've never seen one in person - the right kind of kit for something like that?
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby hookandladderno1 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:55 am

bigdogb25 wrote:Cool Stuff as always Aaron. I've got a glue bomb unimog kit I was thinking about doing a swamp buggy with. I've never seen one in person - the right kind of kit for something like that?

Great idea Bob! Good to see you back!


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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:58 am

The wheels and suspension from the Unimog would probably work well being very tractor like. The axles, engine and such might be overkill, although I think pretty much anything goes, these are not assembly line products.

All the ones I saw were powered by a GM V6 engine and transmissions. They ran an automatic transmission for basic operation, with a manual transmission, minus reverse as a sort of transfer case allowing a range of gearing. No clutch, you put the automatic in neutral to change the manual transmission. They have brakes, but they don't really do much, taking your foot off the gas slows you more than applying the brakes.

The chassis looks custom, but a simple ladder frame easy to fabricate from brass or plastic. The axles and other parts look to be pulled from various automotive / truck sources. I'm guessing many are built from junkyard runs.

I did not get to see it but Big Cyprus National Park has a super buggy powered with a Corvette engine. While they are similar all of these seem to be custom jobs, so I don't really think there is a "wrong way" to build one.


I found an short local article on these things, they date back to the late 1930s, the first being built from modified Model Ts with tractor wheels.


I'll go through my photos and post a few more, I have some showing more detail.
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:28 pm

These are from a couple different buggys, but should give you some ideas. I didn't get a really good photo of the drivers area, but they all had a simple gas / brake pedal like a car, column shift automatic and a floor shift manual "transfer case" with either a standard H pattern (4 speed) or H+1 (5 speed) cut into the sheet metal of the floor between the seats. They are full time 4 wheel drive so actually have a 3rd gearbox providing power front and back buried somewhere in the driveline.

There is a raised cover on the front deck providing access to the top of the engine.

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:31 pm

This one had the pump under the floor with a screened access door. The deck on all of these were about 5 feet above the ground. I'm 6'2 and it was at or above my shoulder when standing flat on the ground.

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:33 pm

Last few, most of these had a fair amount of under deck storage for tools, fuel, drip torches etc.

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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby fireman4509 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:43 am

when did you take theses pics because it looks like near my area north flordia suwanee valley district which my area
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby Aaronw on Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:56 am

February 7-28, 2015.

The photos are from the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, Tuskegee National Forest in Alabama, Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, Picayune Strand State Forest in South Florida, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in South Florida.
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Re: Wildland equipment from the SE USA

Postby fireman4509 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:43 pm

10-4
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