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Author Topic: Summer Fire Safety  (Read 575 times)

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Offline quadracutter222

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Summer Fire Safety
« on: July 28, 2021, 06:43:53 PM »
Good day.  Wondering what folks do, if anything, for fire safety during the summer months if you operate in an area where forest fires are a concern.  

Applying some common sense and a wildland/structural fire fighting back ground my approach is:

- mill early, shut down by 11.  Especially on cross over days
- water and dry chem fire extinguishers on hand
- hose stretched out on hand
- operating in a clearing
- I am looking at adding a 360 sprinkler to the top of the mill and give it a 10 minute run before and after cutting.

Any other smart ideas worth applying?  Obviously shut down for the summer is the safest approach, but there needs to be a hard look at perceived risk vs. actual risk, along with a good dose of common sense.


  

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2021, 07:23:54 PM »
Have your phone with you so you can report a fire asap.  I think your plan is very reasonable.  If your clearing is grass make sure it is cut or that it is green grass not likely to burn as fast.
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Offline Rybot

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2021, 07:51:03 PM »
Having never milled before (yet) I can't speak to this with much expertise. However, I have welded in very fire prone areas many times. 

I would consider the following to be most important when there is fire risk:
  • Keep a clean, tidy, well organized work space (leaked oil+sawdust around a hot engine.....)
  • Don't mill alone. Have a fire watch around whenever the mill is running and you are concerned with fire.
  • Keep basic fire fighting tools handy (shovel, fire extinguisher/hose)

What do you consider the fire risks with saw milling? The only ones I can think of would be sparks from the muffler(basically all small engines have spark arrestors though) or metal strikes. 

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2021, 10:41:44 PM »
I posted earlier and lost it.  I agree with muffler checks and make sure the exhaust is pointed away from all flammables.  my brother burned up a wheat truck, full of wheat.  got stuck in a low spot and tried like a teenager to get out going back and forth.  started the straw on fire from the downturned exhaust.  can carry water on your truck with a pump for fire or wetting down the immediate are.  also with high wind and severe drought, may call off.  you will not get it stopped potentially if it gets a good start.
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 11:54:24 AM »
@firefighter ontheside if he is in the southern interior there ain't no green grass!
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 02:12:36 PM »
Well every firefighter knows that the best way to prevent major fire loss is to catch it in the incipient stage. That's why the first thing off the truck is 'the can' or 'silver bullet' as some call it. Just a simple pressurized water extinguisher. Many a home and shop has been saved by early application of small amounts of water before things grow. I have a bunch of these extinguishers I charge every spring and drain in the late fall. I keep one next to the mill, one in the Mule, and one in my truck. Easy to re-charge too, so almost no cost to use.
 Beyond that pre-watering can help if you have a water supply available. Keeping grass short and keeping duff, leaves, and any other fuel clear of the area also helps, but I am not clear if you are speaking of woods work in general or operating a mill site.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 03:00:31 PM »
@firefighter ontheside if he is in the southern interior there ain't no green grass!
That was why I suggested that it be mowed grass.  Less fuel to burn.
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Offline quadracutter222

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2021, 01:13:35 AM »
Thanks for the feedback folks.  I like the idea of getting a silver bullet, I have a pith can, and a hose, but the pressurized water extinguishers are something else indeed. 

I personally cannot point to the ignition risk on my sawmill, so I find I am adding layers of preparation to help manage the perceived risk vs actual risk.  

My site is adjacent to my driveway, so half is gravel, not a ton of fuel other than waste.  Which I need to clean up a bit before I get going.
 

Offline Magicman

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2021, 07:43:22 AM »
Twice I have had to extinguish a fire at my sawmill and I am 100% portable.  The first was the customer's slab burn pile that got out of hand and was getting alarmingly close to the sawmill.  The second instance was the customer's skid steer and is detailed here:  LINK

I carry one extinguisher in the truck cab and another in my tool box.
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Offline Oliver05262

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2021, 07:47:56 AM »
In the interest of starting a discussion; I used to always carry a pressurized water extinguisher on my service truck for when I was welding or doing other hot work. I had it filled with used antifreeze mix but I sometimes was told that was a bad idea because antifreeze will burn, you know. I figured the water in the mix would counteract that, and getting the fire wet was better than hot, burn. Anybody want to comment  on this?
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2021, 08:05:48 AM »
I can't comment about the antifreeze but the water needs a surfactant to break the 'surface tension'.  I suspect that your antifreeze addition was to keep your fire extinguisher from freezing, but that would never be a problem where I live.  It should also act as a surfactant.

(Surfactant:  Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, or dispersants. The word "surfactant" is a blend of surface-active agent.)
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2021, 08:30:24 AM »
Antifreeze is a compound word of ethylene-glycol. Glycol (which is a type of sugar) burns because of the calories involved.

Ive seen (figuratively) to many places that produce the stuff burn down in my time of my automotive experience.
Trying harder everyday.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2021, 09:14:23 AM »
Well it's been a while since I taught any wildland FF classes and I can't remember any of the chemistry now. I never heard of any antifreeze being used in any way. I do know when it burns, or is burned, it gives off a nasty taste. We did use CAFS when we really needed it (Compressed Air Foam System) and foam injection systems more often for wildland. Plain water beads and evaporates fairly quick, but if you add an emulsifier the water spreads and sticks to the surfaces for a much longer period. You can buy the fancy stuff, but really liquid soap detergent works just great. During heavy brush fire years when we ran out of the fancy foam additives or just couldn't afford to buy anymore, we would just dump a couple of bottles of Dawn in the tanker and it worked fine. You sure wouldn't need much in  PW extinguisher. It allows the water to 'wick out' on a surface and hang for a while. We could pick up a case of that soap anywhere and dump a couple of bottles in as you filled the tanker.

 BTW, for you guys that keep those 1 and 2# dry chem extinguishers handy (I have 3 on the Mule) keep in mind they 'expire' in about a year. Probably good for longer, but are 'officially' done in about a year. Most firefighters can tell you stories about responding to car fires and arriving to find 4 or more of them, spent, laying on the ground, and a fully involved working car fire. :D Everyone saw the fire, stopped to help, brought out their 5 year old 1# extinguisher and got one little squirt out of it. My personal best was finding 8 extinguishers at a single fire. ;D Oh, and dry chem doesn't do squat on a car fire with magnesium in it. Water is even worse and will put a hurtin' on ya. Used to be you only found that metal in high end sports cars, now it is used in production parts such as dashboard frames and lots of other stuff. Now THOSE extinguishers are expensive and re-charging can become a budget line item. We used 4 on a Ferrari fire once, the commissioner's were not happy. ;D Oh well.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2021, 09:18:54 AM »
Yes ethylene glycol can burn.  When added to water in a concentration just enough to prevent the water from freezing, its probably not a concern.  It's better than having a fire to put out and nothing but a frozen can of water to try and put it out with.  You might look into using beet juice like they put in tractor tires instead of antifreeze.
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Offline Oliver05262

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2021, 09:37:03 AM »
  Thanks, firefighter. You and magic man hit on the reason for the antifreeze in the PW extinguisher. I can carry it year round and not worry about freezing temperatures. Also has advantages of being economical and I can refill it myself if needed.
Im sure osha, mine safety, or any other oversight agency would not approve, but its better than nuthin.
I do also carry a small dry chem extinguisher. Have to remember to take it out of the bracket once in a while and shake it to loosen up the powder enough to flow from one end to the other. Never used to worry about use before dates as long as the powder wasnt packed tight. If you use it at all, the valve wont seat, so you need to replace it. That is pretty much what was taught in fire school, too.
Worked on a very troublesome self propelled chopper once where the owner said if it caught fire, he was going to blow the extinguisher in the air, walk slowly to the far end of the field looking for reception on his phone, and call 912.😄
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: Summer Fire Safety
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2021, 02:57:51 PM »
I've been around a couple machines like that. :)


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