For many of us here in California, wildfires season last all year round because of drought, high temperatures and excessive fuel loads in our back country. This post reviews four basic methods to move water for wildland fire suppression activities.

Below are four examples of evolutions that were done in a training environment to prepare our personnel responsible for pumping water either from a manmade or natural water source. The methods shown below include:

1. Fold-A-Tank & Flotopump
2. Type III Drafting
3. Mark IV Backpack Fire Pump
4. Water Eductors

1. Flotopump & Fold-A-Tank

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This is a good example of using the Flotopump. This video demonstrates the starting of the pump and the resulting discharged water through a 1.5" hose with a taskforce tip nozzle. A key point about Flotopumps... I remember hearing how some firefighters had recently received a new Flotopump. They took it to a beautiful lake that had an island way out in the middle of the lake. Well, they started the Flotopump but did not have the discharge hooked up to fire hose as well as not tethering the pump to the shore with a safety line. What happened? Just picture a jet ski because that's exactly what they saw. The Flotopump took off across the lake and didn't stop until it beached itself on the shore, and it kept on running...

2. Type III Drafting Operation from a Lake for Water Supply

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Regardless, whether you are operating a Type III or a Type 1 engine, pumps are pumps. This video demonstrates the Fire Engineer getting the pump primed and then successfully drafting through sections of hard suction. The water supply is a lake. One thought here that I really liked about our new hard suction on the Type III's is that the hose is clear. It's kind of cool to see the water travel through the hose line. It's a nice confirmation that you are drafting water through the pump.

3. MarK IV Backpack Water Pump Using Stream for Water Supply

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The USFS has been using these for a long time. They love it as we do because it breaks down into pieces, making it easy to share the load between hotshot crew members who pack it in and use streams for water sources. Note that the pump has been placed onto a protective ground cloth. You also want to make sure that the pump does not vibrate itself into the stream... Watch out for any kinks in the hose. Can you see one in the video?

4. Water Eductor Demonstration Pumping Water from 55-Gallon Drum

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Using water eductors is a great way to pull water out of places that a portable pump or engine cannot get to. While this video demonstrates the eductor working in a 55-gallon drum filled with water, the principle remains the same. Pump water through the eductor and a venturi effect results, creating a vacuum that draws the water from the source and enables you to not only pump the water that you had in your water tank but an additional amount thanks to the eductor. How much you can draw depends on the size of the water eductor.

I hope this is a good format for sharing fire department training information.

Mike Schlags, Fire Captain
Santa Barbara County Fire Department

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Up Here in maine we use 6x's Like Tankers. We have a 6x with 2 1,000 Gallon tanks and a Wild Fire pump and forestry hose. We run water straight from the Tank, to the pump, to the line, to the hot stuff.

Or we use a small Pick up with the same method. Both trucks have tools on them, and Indian packs.

And then as for refilling the trucks, they have a draft right on them so we can pull from a body of water, or the Drop Tank
Is a 6x something that describes a vehicle with tandem axles? For us, we have to be able to go off road 4-wheel driving a lot of the time to gain access to the fire. I am also assuming that it is a little dryer around where I live than you... (LOL) And when we do get the "big one", believe me, it's the BIG ONE! Thanks for your reply! TCSS, Mike

Awesome videos Mike! Some of these wildland tools are way more than we need here in the 'burbs of Chicago, but I actually learned some things by watching these videos. I do like the water eductor and the Flotopump though. Nice pieces of equipment to have.
Hey Brian, Thanks for the comments. Do you think this is:

1. the appropriate format?
2. the right place to put this stuff?

Be back later tonight... ms
Seems to be the right place to me Mike!

We use collar tanks, not the outside frame type - both hold the water that's needed! We also use floater pumps, can be very useful, drop it in someones swimming pool (we can take any water from anywhere), a small water hole, creek, useful item. Many trucks carry a larger portable pump that is simply sat on the ground, usually in a spot where the trucks can't get close enough to draft, and left there for the duration.
Drafting is a primary method used to fill our tankers out in the scrub. Not that there's much in the way of water anyway... (For us, a 'tanker' is a firefighting vehicle, rather like your Type III's I think, this is our 13 year old version:

Most have the partially clear hard hose, really helps to see when the water is coming up to prime! A question about your Type III, is that the main control panel, or is it only for drafting?
The water eductor we don't use. That type of thing is only used for foam.
Just waiting for the wind change... Not nice - that one is hot.
Hi Mike
we have one of these inductors at our brigade as seen in the video. It's not the same as one discribe in the other forum. It was put together by one of our members many years ago it operates on the same venturie ? method (psi over vaccuum) being a urban /rural brigade we do a yearly inspection of all plug within our township and if there are cluttered with any soil or litter we do what we call a (flush) to clean around the plug. First fill hole stir then rinse ( sounds a bit like mums advice on teeth care all those years ago) all from the back of our pumper it work extremly well. The sums would be interesting on a larger scale with the same tool as to using a static water supply. Could be some good discussion at brigade this week with estimating volume , pressure, fiction loss. We operate just as Tony replied at our brigade both our rural tankers have small portable quick fill pumps to access static supply for longer period .
Hope this may help Thank you.
Yeah Mike, either here or the tools of the trade forum.
G'day Barnard. So you're still allowed to test hydrants? Not happening here anymore - the water authorities didn't like us doing it and had us stop. They didn't like us calling them out to fix the faults we kept finding... Now we play 'go to a fire and hope there's water available from the hydrant'! Ah, the joys of having a privatised water system.
Hi Tony. No we don't test plugs/hydrants we are just like you we not allowed to show according to north east water. What we do is just clean around the plug it's self, sort of rinse the hole. Occasionally refill our truck from one w'eve just cleaned but we need to cautious.Can be a bit drag ring up the water authority let them know that the (ship's has hit the sand).something we try to avoid
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Yes. A 1ton and A Half truck with 4 ton Rockwell axles. Up here in maine, its not that 'dry' but we get out droughts of course, and we have LOTs of dry feilds, and woods ready to light up. We use a truck like that above (we call them six by's)

And this is our other truck we can/do use for wildfires:

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Has Foam Unit on board, 2 packs two spare bottles. On the front you will see two small 'pipes' under the front bumper. The pipes you see are sprinklers. So you can drive through a feild thats currently a-flame.
Hey Mac, Was going through some of my older posts and noted that I had stated to you that when we get the big one, believe me it's the BIG ONE... Well, guess what happended? Santa Barbara County had yet another large wildfire, this time in Montecito, (Tea Fire). I hope it rains...
TCSS, Mike

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