Vehicles and machinery fulfill a vital role in wildfire fighting operations, saving much time and energy.
a) Skid Unit : Also locally known as a “Bakkie-Sakkie”, this is a self-contained fiberglass water tank (400 – 600 litres) with a portable water pump and hose (usually about 30 m in length) that is mounted onto the load space of a pick-up vehicle. It is used mainly for small to medium fires alongside roadways.
b) Unimog : This is a Mercedes Benz 4 x 4 vehicle that has been modified to carry a water tank and pumps. Extremely power and mobile, it is used to suppress advancing fires.
c) Water tanker : Varying in size and capabilities, these vehicles are used to replenish the 4 x 4 vehicles that return from the fire front to refill their water tanks, reducing their “off-site” time.
d) Portable water pump : a valuable item when surface water, such as streams, rivers, and dams, is available. Capacity and ability varies greatly, and firefighting hoses are connected to these pumps to either attack, or undertake “mop-up” operations.
e) Portable dam : Constructed from heavy-duty PVC, these are either self-supporting, or have an external frame. Used to stockpile water at strategic locations to fight fires, they can be filled from water tankers, fire hydrants, and hovering helicopters.
f) Chainsaw : These are used from time to time to clear access roads for vehicles, or fell trees that pose a threat to teams and vehicles.
g) Brush Cutter : This is a weed-eater with a metal blade as opposed to a nylon cord cutting system. It is used to quickly cut fire breaks in small to medium vegetation.