By ALAN M. PETRILLO
Wildland urban interface (WUI) apparatus typically are a mix of wildland and Type 1 engines, usually with a short overall length, good angles of approach and departure, and a chassis that can handle both highways and rough terrain. These vehicles are becoming a staple of fire department fleets where the urban interface meets wildland terrain and are being built in a number of configurations.
Merging Types 1 and 3
Ken Lenz, vice president of engineering for HME Inc., says his company has introduced the Ahrens-Fox WUI engine, a merger of Type 1 and Type 3 pumpers built on a 4×4 short front overhang (SFO) chassis and medium four-door cab. The vehicle has a rugged off-road bumper and a skid plate that covers the radiator, tubing, and air lines as well as a 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump with HME’s Distributed Water System™, a 500-gallon water tank, and a 150-gpm diesel-driven pump for pump-and-roll.
Lenz points out the Ahrens-Fox WUI has a 22-degree angle of approach, a 26-degree angle of departure, one-inch hose reels on the left and right sides, two 1½-inch crosslays, two 2½-inch rear discharges, a 2½-inch discharge on the left side, two 1½-inch discharges and under-spray nozzles at the front, a rear 2½-inch tank fill, and a six-inch steamer and 2½-inch intake on the left side. Ladders and hard suction are stored in the rear of the vehicle where an attached ladder provides access to coffin compartments on top of the rig.
John Schultz, director of pumper and custom chassis products for Pierce Manufacturing, says Pierce recently built a WUI PUC pumper for the Oklahoma City (OK) Fire Department with a 1,500-gpm pump, 750 gallons of water, a foam system, a Darley 2.5AGE auxiliary pump for pump-and-roll capability, and a front-mounted bumper turret. “It’s a multipurpose vehicle with a short wheelbase to make it more maneuverable,” Schultz observes, “with extra storage capacity and seating for five firefighters.”
Doug Feldman, western regional manager for Rosenbauer, says the trend today is to merge the Type 1 and Type 3 concepts together into a WUI-capable engine. “We take the high angle of approach and departure and four-wheel drive common to a Type 3 along with its short wheelbase and marry it with a Type 1 pump of 1,500 gpm, 750 gallons of water, and a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) complement of ground ladders to get the WUI vehicle,” Feldman says. “Rosenbauer uses a body mounting called metacones on these vehicles that allows the body to flex, which is very helpful when traversing rougher terrain.”
Ken Howenstine, sales engineer for Burton’s Fire Inc., says Rosenbauer’s normal high-pressure pump, which comes in 1,250- and 1,500-gpm versions, “works very well in the wildland environment where water conservation and the dispersion of the water droplets is very important.”
Larry Bezemer of Toyne Inc., says Toyne has seen activity pick up recently in WUI apparatus. “[The] Lone Peak (UT) Fire Department bought a Type 1/3 WUI pumper from us, built on an International 7400 4×4 chassis with a 1,250-gpm midship pump, 625-gallon water tank, 25-gallon foam tank, a FoamPro 2001 foam system, and a Darley 1.5AGE auxiliary pump for pump-and-roll,” Bezemer says.
Type 2 Engines
Mark Kopunek, product manager for KME, says KME has built custom Type 2 WUI engines for the Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department with 1,500-gpm midship pumps and secondary 250-gpm power-takeoff-driven (PTO) pumps plumbed to the manifolds to be foam- and pump-and-roll capable. “The Type 2 has two one-inch booster reels, two preconnects, and a deck gun with a dual valve so they can use either water only or foam from the system,” Kopunek says.
KME has built a number of pump-and-roll-capable WUI engines for fire departments in Washington and Oregon, Kopunek points out, usually on International or Freightliner four-wheel-drive commercial chassis with 1,500-gpm midship pumps and 100-gpm auxiliary pumps plumbed to one or two discharges. For the Santa Clara County (CA) Fire Department, KME is building a WUI engine on an International chassis with a four-door cab on a 177-inch wheelbase with a 1,500-gpm midship pump and a 180-gpm Darley engine-driven auxiliary pump.
For the Anchorage (AK) Fire Department, KME has built Type 2 WUI pumpers in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. “They have hydraulic front drive axles and carry 1,500-gpm midship pumps, 750-gallon water tanks, 30-gallon foam tanks, FoamPro 2002 foam systems, and compressed air foam systems (CAFS),” Kopunek notes.
Troy Carothers, AutoCAFS product manager for W.S. Darley & Company, says Darley built a Darley WASP WUI pumper for the Skagit County (WA) Fire District No. 6 on a Ford F-550 XLT 4×4 four-door chassis and crew cab. The rig has a Darley PSMC 1,500-gpm pump, a 300-gallon water tank, a 30-gallon foam tank, and a gear-driven 120-cubic-feet-per-minute (cfm) screw air compressor for the Darley AutoCAFS™ system. “The pumper has seven large compartments with ROM roll-up doors,” Carothers says, “three CAFS discharges, a curbside control panel, and a 2½-inch Darley AutoFill™ at the rear,” Carothers points out.
Fire and Rescue
Larry Segreto, vice president of Boise Mobile Equipment (BME), says his company has been building Type 3 Model 34 WUI engines for CAL FIRE on Navistar 7400 chassis and four-door cabs, 181-inch wheelbases, with Darley JMP 500-gpm PTO-driven midship pumps, 500-gallon water tanks, 25-gallon foam tanks, FoamPro 1601 foam systems, and Darley 1.5AGE Kubota diesel engine-driven auxiliary pumps for pump-and-roll.
Mark Brenneman, assistant sales manager for 4 Guys Fire Trucks, says 4 Guys built a WUI pumper for the Meyersdale (PA) Fire Department on an International 7400 four-wheel-drive chassis and crew cab with a 1,500-gpm side mount pump, a 500-gallon water tank, a six-bottle air cascade system, and upper coffin compartments. “The department carries hydraulic rescue tools and rope rescue equipment on it,” Brenneman says, “but the distinguishing feature of the pumper is a signboard that rises from the front of the hosebed and can turn 180 degrees. It’s a very versatile vehicle.”
Perry Shatley, wildland sales manager for BFX Fire Apparatus, says BFX has seen “strong moves into multipurpose units to handle WUI and rescue. For WUI pumpers, most departments go with a 1,000-gpm or 1,500-gpm midship pump and then add an auxiliary pump for pump-and-roll,” Shatley points out. “Typically, these are on a Type 3 engine, although some departments prefer the smaller Type 6 configuration for its maneuverability but where they still can get a high performance pump and flow a lot of water.”
Grant Spencer, general manager of Spencer Manufacturing, agrees that Type 6 WUI rigs are continuing in popularity. “The type of pump on a Type 6 depends on the end user but often is between 250 and 500 gpm and could be diesel-, gasoline-, or PTO-driven,” Spencer says. “Some departments like their rigs to have wireless controls to handle a front bumper monitor, and Class A foam systems seem to be typical on Type 6 rigs.”
Bill Davidson, vice president of sales for Skeeter Brush Trucks, says Skeeter has been building WUI pumpers on Freightliner M2 and International 7400 and 7500 chassis, mainly in four-wheel-drive configurations. “We’re also building Type 6 pumpers on Ford F-550 and Dodge 550 chassis,” he says. “Most departments are looking to get Insurance Services Office credit for the midship pump and then also have an auxiliary pump on the vehicle for pump-and-roll.” Davidson says Skeeter has built Type 4 pumpers with fixed engine-driven pumps that can pump in both volume and high pressure as well as some Type 5 pumpers with bigger capabilities than a Type 6 but on the same footprint.
David Rosen, president of Acela Truck Company, says Acela builds the Monterra 4×4 and 6×6 models of wildland engines on chassis originally developed for the U.S. Army. “The pumpers have 46-inch tires, 22 inches of ground clearance, a 54-foot turning radius, and central tire inflation systems and are powered by 330-horsepower turbo-charged Caterpillar 7.2-liter diesel engines,” Rosen says. “They have a good over-the-road configuration and extreme off-road capability.”
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.