Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.
Stretching Fuels Dollars and Equipment Life
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
National Fire Plan, Accountability*
Of the many challenges facing fire management professionals, finding adequate budget dollars to fuel a progressive and dynamic program may be the greatest. New mandates, annual salary and benefit adjustments, and increased equipment costs all conspire to constrict programmatic options and innovation. Yellowstone firefighters have taken the approach of giving new life and purpose to aging equipment as a partial solution to this situation. One recent example is the reconfiguration of a type six engine replaced by a newer, technologically superior model. Recognizing the inherent value in the pump, chassis and power train of the old engine, Yellowstone National Park petitioned the Intermountain Regional Office for funding to buy the vehicle back from the Working Capital Fund. The regional office fulfilled the request, but in the buy-back agreement, required that the vehicle never again be used as an engine.
The fire crew removed the pump from the engine and placed it onto a discarded tandem axle trailer that they refurbished as part of the project. They designed the mobile pump unit specifically for use at remote locations during high fire danger periods greatly enhancing visitor and employee safety. Specific sites include the Lamar and Bechler Ranger Stations. After training, red-carded ranger staff will use the pump trailer so they have early and adequate structure defense capability if needed.
The crew also converted the truck to a utility vehicle designed to carry, saws, fuel, tack, camping gear and other equipment to support fuels management activities such as horse logging, tree-felling operations, thinning and burning. It has seatbelts for six, so it is an ideal crew carrier.
When factoring in the new replacement Type-six engine, the effort resulted in a cost efficient three-for-one equipment multiplier that greatly enhances program management capability.
Contact: Andy Mitchell, Assistant Fire Management Officer
Phone: (307) 344-2182