Fire Stories

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.

New "Mud Buggy" will be Easier to Maintain
& Safer to Drive

Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
National Fire Plan, Firefighting*

Big Cypress firefighters Bela Harrington, Adam Kunce, and Chris Richards with the old equipment, which lacks a full roll cage. Click on image for a larger version.

For years, wildland firefighters at Big Cypress National Preserve have relied on custom-built "mud buggies" to reach the hundreds of camps, inholdings, and other facilities that need wildfire protection at this unique National Park Service unit. The vehicles built to respond to fires at Big Cypress were as unique as the Preserve itself. The balloon tires and super-tall suspension required to negotiate rough roads and mud bogs could only be found in spare parts from surplus, obsolete military vehicles. Because these parts have now become hard to find, the engines currently in use have become difficult and expensive to repair. In addition, their steering and suspension are out-of-date and the vehicles lack full roll cages.

Under the direction of Southeast Regional Operations Specialist Willie Adams, Jr., the National Park Service is now contracting for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art specialized Type 6 wildland engine for Big Cypress.

The new custom-built Type 6 engine takes shape at Blue Torch Fabworks in Birmingham, Alabama. Click on image for a larger version.

Powered by a 400-horsepower turbo 350 LP motor, the new buggy has 26 inches of suspension travel with 44 inches of articulation and a ride height of 66 inches at the base of the seat. Rolling on 54 x 26 x 20 bead lock wheels, it also has hydraulic steering, disk brakes on all four wheels and a full roll cage. With improved suspension and steering, the new engine's better handling will make it safer to drive than the existing equipment. The full roll cage will also protect occupants better in the event of an accident. Modern components will also be easier to maintain, repair and replace. The new buggy is scheduled for delivery later this year.

Contact: Willie Adams, Jr., Southeast Regional Fire Operations Specialist
Phone: (404) 909-2757

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives