Question(s) about tending a brush pile fire with the tractor.

Virtual Guy

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Equipment
Kubota L2501, loader, Land Pride box blade and grapple, John Deere MX5 cutter
Jul 17, 2022
83
66
18
Osage County Oklahoma
I have a few big brush piles that were on the property when I bought it. They were left behind by a dozer so it's full trees with root balls. Most 6-8 inch trunks but a few up to 14-16". I've spend a few afternoons moving it to a "neutral zone" to burn since it's piled in a place that I don't feel is safe for burning.

My question is, what should I be worried about regarding moving brush onto an active fire. Other than discoloring the paint on my grapple, what other things should I be worried about?

A few side notes, I'm not managing a massive fire. The pile I usually light up is roughly the size of the tractor. Then I add stuff as it burns down of course. It is largish pieces and well-seasoned wood so it is a very hot fire. I do stay up-wind as much as I can to avoid embers and the smoke. I do all I can to avoid rolling the front tires over hot embers.

I'm doing what I know to do. What else can you share with me?
 

calibdovah

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L3410 GST
Nov 1, 2022
11
9
3
Louisiana,USA
I have a few big brush piles that were on the property when I bought it. They were left behind by a dozer so it's full trees with root balls. Most 6-8 inch trunks but a few up to 14-16". I've spend a few afternoons moving it to a "neutral zone" to burn since it's piled in a place that I don't feel is safe for burning.

My question is, what should I be worried about regarding moving brush onto an active fire. Other than discoloring the paint on my grapple, what other things should I be worried about?

A few side notes, I'm not managing a massive fire. The pile I usually light up is roughly the size of the tractor. Then I add stuff as it burns down of course. It is largish pieces and well-seasoned wood so it is a very hot fire. I do stay up-wind as much as I can to avoid embers and the smoke. I do all I can to avoid rolling the front tires over hot embers.

I'm doing what I know to do. What else can you share with me?
I'd say as long as you're not getting direct fire on your loader joints or where you have grease and rubber
you'll be fine.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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I've never used a grapple to feed fires, always the bucket. Push the pile into the fire, lift a bit, curl a tad, then reverse out. Bucket keeps heat/embers/logs... from getting close to tires and front of tractor.
 
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MapleLeafFarmer

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Lots incl. B and L kubotas
Dec 2, 2019
219
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I've never used a grapple to feed fires, always the bucket. Push the pile into the fire, lift a bit, curl a tad, then reverse out. Bucket keeps heat/embers/logs... from getting close to tires and front of tractor.
that's what I do as well. Once fire is lite I grapple a pile to re-fuel the fire maybe 10 feet from the fire then switch to my bucket (no rubber hydro hoses is what this gives me) and use bucket to push new fuel onto the pile that's burning down.

Also helps that I can burn in winter when there is a foot or more snow on the ground.
 

pokey1416

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Grand L4060HSTC, BH92 Backhoe, HLA Snow Pusher, Dirt Dog Tiller, EA DiscHarrow,
Jun 24, 2020
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This pic doesn’t show it but if you have forks I have had good luck getting relatively close to fire, dump forks, and as the object gets to the end of the forks, quickly curl back! Sounds crazy but you can “flip” the object quite a ways and onto the fire.

90F57544-75DB-4A34-8C28-6566823779C2.jpeg
 
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Virtual Guy

Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501, loader, Land Pride box blade and grapple, John Deere MX5 cutter
Jul 17, 2022
83
66
18
Osage County Oklahoma
Using the bucket vs grapple makes sense but I'm simultaneously unraveling the huge brush pile. I'll have to think through my plan.
 

Virtual Guy

Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501, loader, Land Pride box blade and grapple, John Deere MX5 cutter
Jul 17, 2022
83
66
18
Osage County Oklahoma
I'd say as long as you're not getting direct fire on your loader joints or where you have grease and rubber
you'll be fine.
That was more or less my reasoning. Of course I'm dropping new wood from above so there's definitely a few seconds of pretty high heat on the grapple. Maybe I should just push it in from the side lie others have mentioned.
 

D2Cat

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Mar 27, 2014
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Use an implement (bucket) that won't let limbs be caught on very easily.

In every move presume you are going to get material on fire and caught on your tractor somehow unexpectedly. Know in your mind how you will handle this situation before it happens.
 
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Poohbear

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L3301 HST, LA525, LP shredder, BB1566 box blade, QH10, Worksaver pallet fork
Jul 6, 2018
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Gilmer,Tx,United States
I've never used a grapple to feed fires, always the bucket. Push the pile into the fire, lift a bit, curl a tad, then reverse out. Bucket keeps heat/embers/logs... from getting close to tires and front of tractor.
That's what I do. Just keep pushing the pile together.
 

Russell King

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L185F, Modern Ag Competitor 4’ shredder, Rhino tiller, rear dirt scoop
Jun 17, 2012
3,466
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Austin, Texas
I would have a large newly charged fire extinguisher nearby the tractor. I assume the hood is flammable to some degree and would worry about it catching fire
 

Flintknapper

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Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
609
731
93
Deep East Texas
That's what I do. Just keep pushing the pile together.
Same here. I always clear an area around the burn pile, then if there is much of a wind....I start the fire downwind so the pile has to burn upwind (better control that way).

Then when adding brush/logs to the fire....I pile it in front of the fire and push them into it....always letting the bunched up wood create a buffer between me and the fire.

I never maneuver the tractor into a position that I couldn't leave it IF it were to die for any reason and not start.

Piles without logs can be burned quite completely. Those with logs of course will take longer and require some repositioning of the wood.



 
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Virtual Guy

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Kubota L2501, loader, Land Pride box blade and grapple, John Deere MX5 cutter
Jul 17, 2022
83
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18
Osage County Oklahoma
I failed to mention that I do have a fire extinguisher on the ATV nearby. Always have a backup plan. 👍
 

GeoHorn

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M4700DT, LA1002FEL, Ferguson5-8B Compactor-Roller, 10KDumpTrailer, RTV-X900
May 18, 2018
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I failed to mention that I do have a fire extinguisher on the ATV nearby. Always have a backup plan. 👍
Will your little 5BC extinguisher take care of a fire that involves your tractor, 50 lbs of rubber tires, 8 qts of oil, and 15 gals of diesel fuel…??? I doubt it.

I suggest you keep your tractor out of the fire and don’t use it for what it was never intended. Coots and Boots and Red Adair use specialized bulldozers for that task.
 
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Vlach7

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L47 305DT JD500C
Dec 16, 2021
100
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After being a firefighter for 38 years, if dirt is available, I would take a shovel over a very limited fire extinguisher any time.
 
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Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
Mar 10, 2021
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A very popular and effective tool for managing any fire spreading from the burn pile (not including to your equipment) is a good leaf blower.
 
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GeoHorn

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May 18, 2018
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When those hydraulic hoses burst from the heat and start spewing fluid at 1000 psi…. you will run for your life and see your tractor disappear in a wonderful conflagration.
 
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Flintknapper

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L2350DT
May 3, 2022
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Deep East Texas
Will your little 5BC extinguisher take care of a fire that involves your tractor, 50 lbs of rubber tires, 8 qts of oil, and 15 gals of diesel fuel…??? I doubt it. When those hydraulic hoses burst from the heat and start spewing fluid at 1000 psi…. you will run for your life and see your tractor disappear in a wonderful conflagration.
I can assure you unless the OP is wearing a fire suit he will not be in/around a fire long enough to fully involve his tractor. Melt some plastic....yes possible. Scorch some decals....you bet. Even then you'd have to be pretty careless or have had abandoned the tractor for some reason.

Surely caution and common sense are warranted and I would certainly NOT try to drive up to a large burn pile with a grapple and try to drop the load on top of a burning fire.

PUSH it in from the side, STOP before you get too close to the flames. All will be well and this won't turn into an 'exploding tire' thread. ;)
 
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TX Chris

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MX5400, BH92, RTV900, ZD326
Dec 14, 2020
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Rowlett, TX
My L3901 was lost to a brush fire. Pushing brush into the fire that was burning in a 8x8x4 pit... front tires dropped into the pit... stuck... you know the rest. Took around 90 seconds and the tractor was engulfed from the seat forward.
 
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