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Thread: Leaf Blowers

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    Question Leaf Blowers

    Our department responds to all sorts of ground cover fires. Anything from tall prarie grass to crop fields containing wheat and corn. Also you can throw timber acreage into the mix. We've recently been considering the possibility of purchasing back pack style leaf blowers for for ground cover firefighting. I know some departments are using them, What kind of results, good and bad are you having? Any certain types better or worse? Also what tactics do you use?
    We do have brush trucks but access to areas with this apparatus sometimes isn't available.


  2. #2
    Forum Member bjlffire's Avatar
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    Great tool but not a catch all.

    They work real well for clearing a fire break through the woods, get ahead and blow a 5-10 foot clear path.

    They can blow the fire back into itself and make quick work of a grass only fire.

    A feild fire with taller stuf can be slowed down with a blower and a second person using a flapper or a rake.

    Sthile is making one with a 2 galolon water tank feed to the output, makes a damp air.

    You need to be real carefull when the wind is blowing, they can blow embers way ahead starting spot fire all over.

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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    I've never heard of that before but it sounds like a good theory.
    Is the (correct me) object to blow the flame back into the burned area? I could see it for clearing light fuels for a fire break but it's the mulch that the fire likes to burrow through.
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    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Here's a link about using blowers for building firelines.
    We have used backpack blowers with great success! On grass fires you can put out the fire about three times faster with a blower than with bakpack sprayers. Usually you can put out the fire about as fast as you can walk. The only place that I've had trouble with using the blower is when there is a lot of scrub mixed in with the fire. But in grass or leaves it works wonderful. As the old saying goes, it's the cats meow!

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    MembersZone Subscriber ramseycl's Avatar
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    They work good for hard wood leaf litter, but they don't wotk in pine forests. Personally I have never seen one used, and don't think they would be useful in my area, but I have heard a lot of good things from people back east who have used them.

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Cool Uh, Yeah..............

    Eastern Hardwood Forests are the best arenas for this type of battle, since the Hardwoods leaves are easily blown with the air current. I've used one several times, and the tactic of blowing a wide path through the leaves is the best way to get a rough line in place fast. You still need the shovels and Pulaskis though. I have not experimented with using the air flow directly against the Fire yet, but I hope to, with an upcoming prescribed burn. Remember, ALL SAFETY RULES STAY IN PLACE. Using a new tool, and tactics, is NOT the time to slack off on Safety.
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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    You know, now that I think of it, I don't think it would be a good idea to carry about a gallon and a half of gasoline on your back into a fire. Call me old fashioned...
    IAFF

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    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    We have one that we bought to dry off the trucks....
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    I watched a leaf blower used on a ground cover fire. The fire was about one foot high before the leaf blower and THREE feet high with the air blowing on it. Needless to say, the operator immediately traded in the leaf blower for an Indian tank.

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Uh Huh........................... .

    Originally posted by Stuart
    I watched a leaf blower used on a ground cover fire. The fire was about one foot high before the leaf blower and THREE feet high with the air blowing on it. Needless to say, the operator immediately traded in the leaf blower for an Indian tank.

    Obviously Operator Error......
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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Originally posted by firenresq77
    We have one that we bought to dry off the trucks....
    And for blowing the bays out
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    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dave1983


    And for blowing the bays out
    That too!!
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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Originally posted by snowball
    You know, now that I think of it, I don't think it would be a good idea to carry about a gallon and a half of gasoline on your back into a fire. Call me old fashioned...
    Then I guess you wouldn't carry a backfire torch or backfire fusees either?

    Use some common sense. If you have 30 foot flame lengths and 30 mph winds.....you're certainly not going to use a backpack blower directly on or near the fireline. However, for the creeping fire in accumulated forest duff...it is a terrific tool.

    Backpack leaf blowers can create firebreaks in hardwood forest duff quite quickly...but must be used in conjunction with rakes, shovels and/or McLeod tools. A three person crew can clear an impressive amount of line in a matter of minutes. Each engine in my section carries a backpack blower. As with any tool, learn how and when to use it.
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    We have one that we bought to dry off the trucks....

    And for blowing the bays out


    Great selling point! I can convince the finance officers that they are multi-functional. At least three uses. Anymore ideas?

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    Forum Member DiscoDude's Avatar
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    When it comes to brush fires, we do it the ol' fashoned way with flappers & water jackets. The brush truck works well too. As for leaf blowers, the brass bought one for us to blow out the bay's & apparatus pad. I think I'm going to suggest it gets put on the brush truck for brush fires. Then they can't chase us around making sure we're staying busy blowing leaves.
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    we use our leaf blower on the rescue engine to remove leftover debris from MVA's and blow it off the interstate....onto the or over trhe shoulder or median.........
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    Let me see if I understand this theory correctly. You use a leaf blower to surpress the fire or build a fire line in front of the advancing flames? Which is it? I think I can uderstand the building of a fire line in front of the fire but not the extinguishing portion. We have a policy (and common sense) that states to fight the fire from the burned portion. If, by using this method (staying in the burned area) you apply a high volume of wind to the base of the fire would this not increase the fire spread? Or do you stay in the unburned area and utilize the leaf blower forcing the fire to the burned area? I may just be confused and would see the benefit of this tactic if it were presented in a the proper training format. I am not saying that the tactic is incorrect but, it seems to me that applying wind to any wildland type fire will aid in the spread of the fire.

    I have been wrong before and not afraid to admit to it. Just trying to understand the basic concept of this tactic.

  18. #18
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BFDLT32
    Let me see if I understand this theory correctly. You use a leaf blower to surpress the fire or build a fire line in front of the advancing flames?
    The leaf blower is used to create a fireline by blowing leaves/duff material....ahead of the advancing flames.

    It should never be used in an attempt to blow out flames....only as an aid in indirect fireline construction.
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  19. #19
    Forum Member SPIPER's Avatar
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    Read this

    leaf blower
    Steve
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    Smile

    Thanks. This makes more sense now that I have better understanding of the tactic used.

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