By Alan M. Petrillo

Approximately 250 wildland firefighters, chief officers, incident commanders, and others had an opportunity to see the latest developments in wildland equipment, tools and gear at the recent Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) conference in Reno, Nevada.

WATERAX had its Mark 3 wildland portable fire pump on display, a 58-pound four-stage unit powered by a WATERAX 10-horsepower gasoline engine with a two-inch suction intake, and 1½-inch-inch discharge that puts out a maximum of 105 gallons per minute (gpm) at 380 pounds per square inch (psi). “This is a portable pump that can be handled by one firefighter,” says Mario Janson, WATERAX’s domestic sales manager. “It’s a great pump that’s able to push water long distances, which often is needed in wildland firefighting.”

Raffaele Gerbasi, WATERAX’s president, says the Rancher® series unit WATERAX displayed has a Mini-Striker® WATERAX pump powered by a Honda GXH50 four-stroke gasoline engine with a 65-gallon water tank that puts out 80 gpm at 85 psi through a ¾-inch hoseline on a manual reel. Gerbasi says that the Rancher also is available with a 125-gallon water tank, and that the unit, fitted on a skid, can easily slide onto the back of a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) or the bed of a pickup truck.

Rick Isaacks, municipal foam sales manager for North America at Johnson Controls, which owns Chemguard, says the two most popular foams it makes are the Silv-ex-Plus, and the DirectAttack foam agent. “DirectAttack foam agent fire suppression concentrate is designed specifically for use on Class A fuel fires, including wood, paper, coal, structure, and rubber fires,” Isaacks points out. “The foam agent gives the firefighter suppression capabilities, exposure protection, and increased safety. And, it can be effective on some Class B flammable liquid fires when applied by medium- and high-expansion devices.”

Isaacks says that Silv-ex Plus is a low-, medium-, and high-expansion Class A foam concentrate formulated from specialty hydrocarbon surfactants, stabilizers, corrosion inhibitors, and solvents. “The latest development in this original forest fire control concentrate is that Silv-ex Plus has been proven effective on deep-seated Class A fires such as tire, paper, coal, structure, and wildfires,” he says.

PHOS-CHeK displayed several of its products for wildland and structural firefighting, including its Flash 21 fuel gelling agent, its WD881 Class A foam concentrate, ground-applied Long-Term Retardant for wildland use, First Response Class A foam concentrate and wetting agent to make water more effective for firefighting, PHOS-CHeK Insul-8 structural fire protection liquid gel, and the PHOS-CHeK Solid Class A Foam Stick.

FireStopper USA makes the AB40002 FFC all-purpose firefighting foam concentrate designed to extinguish any class fire quickly, according to Philip Held, national sales manager. The catalyst is a high kinetic catalytic foaming agent, he notes, that can be used on structure fires, hydrocarbon fuels, transformer fires, wildland fires when applied from the air or the ground, or class D magnesium aluminum and titanium fires.

Scotty Firefighter makes the 4010 Fast-Foam applicator that uses PHOS-CHeK Solid Class A Foam Sticks for wildland fire use. (All photos by Alan M. Petrillo.)

Scotty Firefighter, displayed its wildland foam nozzle, as well as its 4010 Fast-Foam applicator for wildland use. “The Fast-Foam applicator uses PHOS-CHeK Solid Class A Foam Sticks,” says Lloyd Rees, sales and support for Scotty. “A firefighter can flow from 15 to 95 gpm from the Fast-Foam nozzle, and can get 35 minutes of foam flow at 15-gpm constant flow.”

FoamPro makes the Accumax, 1600 series, and 2000 series foam controllers, which are used in wildland firefighting.

Norbe Puroll, Western regional manager for Safe Fleet’s FRC brand, displayed FoamPro’s Accumax, 1600 series, and 2000 series foam controllers, as well as FRC’s Tank Vision, pressure governor, and InControl systems. Safe Fleet also exhibited several FRC LED lighting solutions, including the Evolution 15,000-lumen light, the Spectra 20,000-lumen and 900-lumen LED lights, plus an array of Elkhart Brass nozzles.

FRC’s Evolution LED lights, and its Spectra 20,000-lumen and 900-lumen LED lights are used on wildland firefighting apparatus.

“Elkhart Brass’s new Chief XD series nozzles have been upgraded to a compressed air foam system (CAFS) nozzle,” Puroll says, “that includes stainless steel spinning teeth, greater strength, and an increase in the size of the bail. In terms of foam, our most popular wildland system is the FoamPro with the 1½-inch manifold that gives better foam injection at low flow rates.

Elkhart Brass makes a number of nozzles suited for wildland, foam, and CAFS (compressed air foam systems) use, including the new Chief XD series of nozzles (shown at the center).

Eric Topacio, owner of Cedar Valve, believes he has a better way of moving and disconnecting charged hoselines when involved in water tendering. Topacio invented the Cedar Valve, which comes in four-inch and 2½-inch versions that allows an engine operator to disconnect his pumper from a charged line. “You use the bail shutoff, then simply disconnect the two brass levers on either side of the valve,” he says. “You can drop it on the ground and don’t have to worry about shutting the hydrant down.”

Cedar Valve makes four-inch and 2½-inch valves that allow an engine operator to disconnect a pumper from a charged line without shutting down the line from the supply source.

On the wildland personal protective equipment (PPE) side of things at the, True North showed an array packs, bags, and accessories as well as well as a Dragon Slayer™ Brush Shirt and Wildland Pants for firefighters that meet NFPA 1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting. True North also showed its Fire and Arc-resistant work wear, including Power Dry™ shirts, bottoms, hoodies, vests, flak jackets, beanies, and hats.

California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) displayed its First Defense™ wildland firefighting gear, which also meets NFPA 1977, in two colors: yellow and orange. Workrite displayed its flame-resistant station wear, as well as its wildland jackets, and tactical pants.

In terms of protecting wildland firefighters when off duty in the field, Western Shelter gave information on its 1935 Shelter System that handles up to 20 personnel, its Mobile Hybrid Container System, and its Sentinel II inflatable shelter system.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.