The Pioneer (CA) Fire Protection district covers 296 square miles in Eldorado County between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, largely consisting of rural and agricultural territory that includes approximately 40 vineyards and three large rivers. It’s prime wildland urban interface (WUI) territory, and the department needed a WUI engine to handle the variety of calls that a WUI area requires.
Greg Morford, Pioneer Fire’s captain, says that the apparatus in his district and neighboring fire districts “all are four-wheel drive. Our district runs from about 1,200 feet to 7,000 feet in elevation, so some areas are covered in snow in winter, necessitating four-wheel drive.” The fire district covers a 10,000-person population from one station with six paid firefighters and five volunteers.
The Pioneer Fire Protection District used a FEMA grant to get its new WUI engine—a KME Type 1 pumper on a Severe Service four-wheel-drive chassis and cab with seating for four firefighters, powered by a 450-hp Cummins ISL9 diesel engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission.
Mark Kopunek, KME’s product manager, says the Pioneer Fire rig has a Marmon-Herrington MT-22 front axle that uses a power divider off the rear axle, a Hale Qmax-XS 1,250-gpm pump, a 625-gallon water tank, a 25-gallon foam tank, a Hale CBP4 250-gpm pump for pump and roll, and a FoamPro 1600 foam system. The vehicle has a 42,000-pound GVWR, is 28 feet 7 inches long, and 10 feet one inch tall.
Pioneer’s WUI rig carries Whelen LED warning lights, a Whelen LED brow light, and Whelen 900 LED scene lighting on a galvannealed steel body that has a KME-made hinged aluminum tread plate hosebed cover. Morford points out that the pumper also carries HURST Jaws of Life hydraulic rescue tools, including a power plant, cutter, spreader, and rams. The department is adding a HURST eDRAULIC combi tool to the vehicle shortly.
“The pumper has been in service about a year and has been to a lot of responses, including the November/December 2017 Thomas Fire in the Montecito/Santa Barbara area, which was the largest wildfire in California history, burning 273,400 acres,” Morford points out. “We are very pleased with the pumper’s performance. We also have handled a lot of local area responses with it and have taken it off road a number of times, and it has performed admirably.”
Kopunek notes that WUI apparatus are popular, especially in the Western and Mountain states. He says that KME recently built a WUI Type 3 pumper for Santa Clara County (CA) Fire Department on an International 7400 4×4 chassis and cab with USSC Valor seating for four firefighters and powered by a 350-hp Cummins ISL9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission.
He adds that the Santa Clara rig has a Darley JMP 500-gpm two-stage pump, a 500-gallon stainless steel water tank welded into the galvannealed steel body, a Darley auxiliary pump driven by a Kubota diesel engine for pump-and-roll, a Hale FoamLogix 2.1 foam system, an inclinometer in the cab to determine the slope, Whelen M6 LED warning lights, a HiViz LED 46-inch brow light, a Federal EQ2B siren, and a spare tire carrier under the rear of the body.
Kopunek says that for the Grant County (WA) Fire Department, KME built two RidgeRunner WUI units set up for both structural and wildland firefighting, each carrying a Hale 1,500-gpm pump, 800-gallon water tank, 20-gallon foam tank, Hale 100-gpm pump at 150-psi for pump and roll, a FoamPro 1601 foam system, an Akron Brass 3422 deck gun, and an Akron Brass 3462 forestry monitor.
The rigs are built on International 7400 four-wheel-drive chassis and cabs with seating for four firefighters, are 29 feet 4 inches long, 9 feet 8 inches tall, and each has a 350-hp Cummins ISL9 diesel engine, an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, Whelen 900 Series LED lights, Whelen 12-volt telescoping scene lights on the front of the body, and Whelen SmartFire and Federal Q2B sirens.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.