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7-12 IAN Firefighting Tractor
by David Sparks, Ph.D., click here for bio
Program: Today's Idaho Ag News
Date: July 12, 12
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Throughout the summer and fall Western States constantly live in fear of wildfires which wreak environmental havoc. Let’s include what wildfires do to rangeland. It promotes the growth of predatory vegetation such as cheatgrass, which ironically, acts as a fuel for wildfire. And then, it encroaches on the habitat of many species. A recent conference in Reno focused on the status of the sage grouse whose habitat in eleven of the Western states has been seriously reduced due to wildfire damage. This in turn could bring grazing to a stop in some areas of Idaho.
Now the good news. Remember the little train that could? Make that a little tractor…a firefighting tractor called the SCT2, built in North Central Idaho partially through USDA funding. It’s a tool that provides maximum safety to firefighters by building a fire line in front of wildfires. Cindy Dugi McCool of TNC Industries in Weippe Idaho: “Not a real big machine and doesn’t leave a big impact. The machine is made where there’s not even a place for a person to sit in the machine and it runs totally from a remote control system. You make the machine go forwards, backwards, turn, operate the blade, tiller, the small water tank that’s on it. Everything that’s on the machine you operate from a distance. It will actually till a 5 foot fireline, it’ll till through brush, tall grass, and even through rock, depending upon whether or not they’re great big boulders. The SCT2 was responsible for successfully building a fire line around a farm near the Salmon Challis National Forest in Idaho…a region consisting mostly of sage brush and rocky terrain.
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