Over the weekend, West Benton Fire Rescue was out on Lincoln Grade constructing fire breaks using their bulldozer. The warm and clear afternoon served as a backdrop and reminder that fire season is quickly approaching. Bulldozer lines are constructed by blading the ground and removing flammable plant material down to bare soil.
Bulldozers cannot fight fire directly but they can have a huge impact when it comes to preventing fire spread. Training exercises on the bulldozer and other machinery are meant to get the operators back into familiarization with the machines and touch up on their skills while creating a fire line. Familiarity with the equipment, and the training that ensues, also helps decrease the chance of accidents in the field of an inherently dangerous job. The only way operators can learn how steep they can go and get back out is from experience, by doing it.
Dozer operators are critical to any firefighting effort because of their ability to cut fire breaks and remove potential fuel from a fire’s path. They also make it possible to clear the way to get firefighters and equipment into an area where they couldn’t go before.