Heikler Einsatz in schwerem Gelände

Very difficult to access terrain, remoteness, water shortage: forest fires present fire departments and their vehicles with special challenges. All-terrain access, robustness and manoeuvrability are essential properties in order to get to operational scenes. The forest firefighting vehicle recently delivered to a fire department in Chile scores highly not only with these properties.

 

It is usually warm and dry in Ovalle, a town with 100,000 inhabitants, located a four-and-a-half hours drive northeast of the Chilean capitol Santiago. The barren region has a desert-like character; only some valleys have agriculture and vineyards. The dry climate and hostile landscape is a constant challenge to the volunteer fire department of Ovalle. Regularly emergency crews have to respond to bush fires and forest fires. With the new forest firefighting vehicle (WaTLF 3000) they are now also perfectly equipped for these types of operations.

Compact, robust, all-terrain

The special firefighting vehicle is built on a MAN chassis and gleams not just thanks to the all-wheel drive and all-terrain ability. The relatively short, compact vehicle is very manoeuvrable and has a lot of underaxle clearance. Which is also necessary to get relatively close to often difficult-to-reach operational scenes.

 

With forest firefighting vehicles it's always about finding a compromise: on the one hand the vehicle should be very good on all terrain, on the other hand it is also important that enough fire fighting water can be brought to the scene. The WaTLF for the fire department in Ovalle is equipped with a 3,000 litre tank and the N35 normal pressure pump. A rapid intervention hose reel is also available for extinguishing. Very practical in operation is the Pump & Roll function: the extinguishing procedure can be continued even while the vehicle is moving. This can be very practical for fires on embankments next to roads, or similar operations.

 

In addition to the equipment for fire fighting, many other tools are also available in the vehicle: not only may extinguishing work be required in a forest fire, sometimes trees have to be cut down or large lanes cut to prevent spreading.

Highest safety for the crew

Forest fires often pose serious dangers for crews. Falling trees, the impassable terrain and also the incalculable spread of a fire cannot be underestimated. The WaTLF 3000 is therefore equipped with extensive safety features. Numerous clips and a frame around the cab protect against falling trees. The occupants are also protected against fire and heat by a deluge system. A fine mist spray can be produced at the touch of a button, which is distributed around the cab via nozzles, allowing the crew to retreat in an emergency such as with a fire wave.

 

Chile's voluntary fire departments are under the auspices of the "Junta Nacional de Bomberos de Chile". This national organisation is also responsible for the procurement of vehicles. With the forest firefighting vehicle for the fire department in Ovalle, not only have they invested in state-of-the-art firefighting technology, but above all in the safety of the volunteer emergency crews.