Biscuit fire fireline

Constructing firelines for the largest fire in Oregon's history was made easier when more than a dozen "SLASHBUSTER"® brush cutters from all over the Northwest joined in the task.

Video of Slashbuster® roadside fireline construction:

All first-hand observers agree: what had before required a 20-person crew, chipper and a feller-buncher, was accomplished by one man and one "SLASHBUSTER"® with an equal or greater production rate.

Existing roads were used as a fireline where applicable, with a vegetation treatment applied to one side of the road. In some areas this was accomplished by the conventional method of a 20-person team feeding small vegetation into a chipper, and a feller-buncher moving large diameter timber to the other side of the road.

In other areas the same result was accomplished with "SLASHBUSTER"® treatment, which shredded vegetation as it stood, creating a mulch that has low flame length characteristics. Larger trees were cut off at the base with the "SLASHBUSTER"® , then picked up with its material handler and placed on the opposite side of the road.

 

 

 

Cross-country fireline construction typically involves a dozer scraping away all organic matter down to mineral soil. The drawback to this treatment is its rehabilitation cost, which runs approximately $1400 per acre. By using Slashbuster treatment on both sides dozerline rehabilitation costs and ecological impact were considerably reduced, as well as the area of exposed mineral soil. This treatment seems to be the future of minimum impact suppression tactics. See how "SLASHBUSTER" treatments helped in fighting the Squire Peak fire. Dozer fireline supplemented with a "SLASHBUSTER" treatment.
"SLASHBUSTER" fireline construction

Existing roads were used as a fireline where applicable, with a vegetation treatment applied to one side of the road. In some areas this was accomplished by the conventional method of a 20-person team feeding small vegetation into a chipper, and a feller-buncher moving large diameter timber to the other side of the road.

In other areas the same result was accomplished with "SLASHBUSTER"® treatment, which shredded vegetation as it stood, creating a mulch that has low flame length characteristics. Larger trees were cut off at the base with the "SLASHBUSTER"® , then picked up with its material handler and placed on the opposite side of the road.



Roadside vegetation management at the Biscuit fire was particularly important considering that up to that point 7 of the 14 firefighter deaths in 2002 were caused by vehicle accidents. The narrow, winding roads in the Siskyou National Forest were overgrown with small diameter vegetation, creating hazardous blind curves that the "SLASHBUSTERS"® quickly took care of.

Fireline construction complete and ready for back burning

Cost differences are estimated in GH Ranch's "Slashbusting for Forest Fuels Reduction" brochure. (PDF, 480K)

See how "SLASHBUSTER"® pre-treatments helped in fighting the Squire Peak fire. Equipment like this is available to fire chiefs all across the US to help reduce costs and risk of injury.

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