Forest fuels reduction: a new tool to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Slashbuster fuels reduction
Reaching between the trees up to forty feet away reduces carrier movement and thus decreases soil impacts.

A century of fire suppression effort has resulted in an unforeseen consequence: the overstocking of trees and other vegetation in fire-dependent ecosystems. This overstocking creates a fuel ladder, whereby fire can climb from ground level to crown level, resulting in a stand replacing fire that historically would have been benign.

Efforts to correct our 'mismanagement' primarily focus on extraction and utilization of the biomass and small diameter timber. However, many areas are far away from the nearest market, and long haul distances negate utilization of low value products. In areas such as these, the "SLASHBUSTER"® forest fuels reduction treatment is a proven alternative. The treatment is simple, single entry, low-impact and very cost effective: especially versus fire suppression.

“...the Slashbuster® was more effective and less costly than traditional methods of fuels removal. In one section of the project area traditional manual means of fuel reduction would have cost $1,300 per acre. Using the Slashbuster®, the cost per acre was $460.”

— National Fire Plan Website;

This fuels reduction picture shows the stark difference in pre- and post- stand treatment conditions. Prior to the "SLASHBUSTER"® fuels reduction treatment, a ground fire could easily climb up through the overstocked trees and into the crowns of the old-growth Ponderosa pine. After treatment, the hazardous fuels profile is reduced so that a ground fire has little access to the crowns, thus a stand-replacing fire is much less likely.
Slashbuster fuels reduction before after pictures
before and after fuels reduction, click for larger image

forest floor after fuelks treatment and controlled burn, showing mosaic pattern of burned areas
Slashbusted fuels typically burn slowly in mosaic patterns

“Although there are several types of masticating heads, the Slashbuster® head is one of the most effective tools used for forest fuels treatment. This equipment is an excellent tool for maintenance of fuelbreaks and is frequently used to thin natural stands as a pretreatment before controlled burning.”
— CA Air Resources Board;


Slashbuster treatment of manzanita chaparral

“(Viewed from a plane), the work accomplished is plainly visible. While other areas outside the canyon are choked with trees, the "slashbusted" areas stand out as oak-dominated, park-like areas.”
— Ashland Daily Tidings Newspaper;,


One Year Post SLASHBUSTER Treatment
click for larger image

This picture is of a wildland-urban interface near Keno, Oregon, one year post "SLASHBUSTER"® fuels treatment. Note the level of decay even though average annual precipitation in this area is only fourteen inches. In short time the material decays completely, adding nutrients and structure to the soil that helps the forest's long-term health.

more info on mastication in the Bear Valley NWR


“(The Slashbuster®) can do the work 10 to 20 times faster than cutting brush with hand saws, thinning out brush on four to five acres in an eight-hour day.”

— Joanna Dodder, The Daily Courier, Prescott, AZ 05/04/04


Yreka mastication equipmentThe US Forest service used "SLASHBUSTER"® mastication equipment to treat 300 acres of hazardous fuels in a Defense Zone around Yreka, California. For more information and photos showing a twelve foot high wall of brush reduced to less than one foot, visit the Yreka Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project homepage.


“The objectives of this project are to reduce fuels within the Defense Zone to a condition that will not allow for flame lengths of greater than four feet to occur ... during 90th percentile weather conditions (hot, dry, late summer conditions).”


See how a similar "SLASHBUSTER"® Defense Zone helped in fighting
the Squire Peak fire, which threatened 200 homes near Ruch, Oregon.

Related Applications

Brush cutting manzanita
"SLASHBUSTER"® vs. Manzanita