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

notaz3

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Mar 16, 2021
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ID
Would never use my tractor to feed a fire. I use a rented excavator that I get insurance on.
 
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calibdovah

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L3410 GST
Nov 1, 2022
11
9
3
Louisiana,USA
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.
Pushing it into the pile might be the safest way
 
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JRS

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Oct 27, 2021
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Central Texas
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.
Does the leaf blower blow the flames out? I would have thought it would fan the fire. I’m for any tool to help not burn down the county.
 

SDT

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multiple and various
Apr 15, 2018
2,570
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SE, IN
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.
Agreed.

I tend fires with a pitch fork rather than any of my tractors/FELs.

When finished I have nothing but ash at the fire site and the tractors are not even dusty.
 

Bmyers

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Grand L3560 with LA805 loader, EA 55" Wicked Grapple, SBX72 BB, LP 1272 mower
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We have burnt several brush piles. We always keep someone watching the fire, although that is no guarantee that everything will go smooth.

My wife was in charge of watching the fire while we added brush to the fire. Everything was going well until I noticed a problem. I pulled the tractor up next to my wife sitting in her lawn chair and turned off the engine and opened the cab door. I asked her how the burning was going? She said everything was going well. I said that was good, glad everything was going well, but who decided the wagon behind you should be burnt also?

She turned around and jumped up in a panic, an old wooden wagon that we were planning on keeping was a blaze and she didn't have a clue. I grabbed the wagon with the grapple and shoved it into the brush pile.

So, whomever you designate as your fire watch, please make sure they understand that doesn't mean just sit their and watch the fire, but check the areas around the fire.
 
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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
380
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North Georgia
Does the leaf blower blow the flames out? I would have thought it would fan the fire. I’m for any tool to help not burn down the county.
The leaf blower keeps the flames from spreading to new fuel, while it causes the fire to burn out (consume the fuel it has reached) almost instantly.

 
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lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
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Red Lion
Does the leaf blower blow the flames out? I would have thought it would fan the fire. I’m for any tool to help not burn down the county.
I've used my leaf blower to fan fires that were difficult to burn, even at a slow speed the fire really blazes.
 
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Vlach7

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L47 305DT JD500C
Dec 16, 2021
100
38
28
Frazier Park Ca
I use the tractor FEL to push the pile together before I burn, then light it so it will burn against the wind. Only problem is when the wind changes direction, gets exciting, I have always been able to keep it contained. My wife likes to leave on those days, LOL.
 

Freeheeler

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b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
682
486
63
Knoxville, TN
My burn pit is a big square made of large tree trunks. I use my forks to add to the pile. The tree trunks help to contain the fire as well as protect my front tires from excess heat. I only roll in close enough for the forks to do their thing. The burn pit is about 40 feet from the shoreline, and I have a well pump under the dock for an unlimited supply of water if things get exciting. As long as you don't burn on a windy day in dry conditions, you should be able to mitigate most risks.
 

Virtual Guy

Member

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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
Thanks everyone for the advice and comments. So far I the answer is

"I'll inevitably burn my tractor, my home, and family and die in a fiery inferno"

...or "It'll be fine"

...or something in between. ;)

Believe it or not that's exactly what I expected but along the way I definitely picked up some important bits of information. I will stop using the grapple for this. I had considered the possibility of damage to hydraulic hoses but for some reason I hadn't considered the "flame thrower" that might result from one opening up. I know that's unlikely and would be limited as long as I'm not holding a 3rd function valve open but I still don't want to test it.

Grease points are another thing I hadn't considered. I have been very careful to drive up, drop, and retreat without lingering but it's still pretty intense heat. I'll take a grease gun next time I head over there and hit the loader & grapple fittings just for good measure.

I'll have to think through my approach if I'm using the bucket. I have been picking through the existing pile and moving stuff to where I burn it. So far that has also included picking out fence wire, a galvanized gate, wadded up cattle panels, tires, and other junk. I've been doing that while my pile is burning but I simply can't do that with the bucket. I'll just have to do all that as a separate effort and accept that it'll take longer.

Again, I appreciate the comments.
 
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Kurtee

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BX2660, BX2680 cab, JD 2032R, Honda 5518, JD X590, JD X739
Oct 3, 2013
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Nicollet, mn
I have used my Bobcat to do as you ask and find it works ok. I do leave it a considerable distance from the buildings for the first night after the fire just in case some embers are hiding in the loader. Losing one machine would be bad enough but the shed with everything is another story.
 

GeoHorn

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May 18, 2018
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My burn pit is a big square made of large tree trunks. I use my forks to add to the pile. The tree trunks help to contain the fire as well as protect my front tires from excess heat. I only roll in close enough for the forks to do their thing. The burn pit is about 40 feet from the shoreline, and I have a well pump under the dock for an unlimited supply of water if things get exciting. As long as you don't burn on a windy day in dry conditions, you should be able to mitigate most risks.
At least your have planned for the problem.…. most folks don’t even realize there IS a problem (as some of the subsequent post illustrate.)
 
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Old_Paint

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Dec 5, 2020
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My burn pit is a big square made of large tree trunks. I use my forks to add to the pile. The tree trunks help to contain the fire as well as protect my front tires from excess heat. I only roll in close enough for the forks to do their thing. The burn pit is about 40 feet from the shoreline, and I have a well pump under the dock for an unlimited supply of water if things get exciting. As long as you don't burn on a windy day in dry conditions, you should be able to mitigate most risks.
The LAST thing you want to spray on that tractor if it catches fire is water. If all you have to fight the fire with is water, you're better off letting an oil fire burn. About all you're going to do is spread the fire. QUICKLY.
 
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Old_Paint

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Simply put, you do what you want to, but no way would I use a grapple to load a burning brush pile. Too much stuff catches in a grapple that you would think would have no way of doing so. I'll include a straight rake handle in that category. Don't ask me how I know.

Safety first, and don't even think about having a water hose to put out the fire on your tractor if the unthinkable happens. All you're going to do is spread an oil fire if you use water on it. The water is fine to control the brush fire, not a tractor fire. Since the average person doesn't have foaming equipment or a large enough B/C extinguisher to put out that magnitude fire, the best option is to avoid the risk. Fire is a hungry beast with bad manners.

You have the right idea. Keep the fire small and controllable. I've burned an enormous pile of brush by just feeding it slowly into a relatively small fire. Burn when it's cold, and with the least wind possible, and preferrably, as shortly after a rain as possible. Make 'storage' or staging piles that you can push onto the embers (assuming you have enough time) after the first lot burns down. You can keep moving and sorting with your grapple into those piles while the main pile burns but go grab the bucket and use a skim technique to push the new piles on top of the embers. The bucket will clear the hot coals out of the way (and any nails you might miss) and will also keep a lot of heat off the front of your tractor. Remember, that fan's gonna suck every bit of that heat through the radiator and fan the flames if something ignites. Even if the grill on your tractor is not plastic, you could still wind up doing some serious damage to the radiator with that much heat. Just stay back from it until it burns down. and approach low with the bucket. Once you get the pile pushed in close, you can lift and curl forward to roll it onto the embers. You don't have to lift high, and it's better if you don't. Keep that bucket between your tractor and that fire. It's the best armor you have.

Like so many others have said, make sure you have an escape plan and that NOTHING compromises it. A second person for a watch is a stupendous idea. I doused a pile of mulched leaves that I was silly enough to set on fire. I hosed them with water for at least 30 minutes. I checked them the next morning before I left for work, yep stone cold. I thought. My new neighbor called me about two hours later to see if I was home and to let me know the pile was smoldering again. He and I have been good friends since.

Murphy's Law #2: If it can go wrong, it will, and at the least opportune moment. Murphy's Law #1: Don't mess with Mrs. Murphy.
 

Freeheeler

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b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
682
486
63
Knoxville, TN
The LAST thing you want to spray on that tractor if it catches fire is water. If all you have to fight the fire with is water, you're better off letting an oil fire burn. About all you're going to do is spread the fire. QUICKLY.
I have an element extinguisher for the tractor, but that's not what I'm concerned about. Nothing gets close to the flames except the tips of the fork tines and what's getting dumped from them. The water is for the rest of the property. I can buy a new tractor if I screw up and burn it, but I'd rather not have to buy my neighbor a new house.
 

rc51stierhoff

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B2650, MX6000, (BX sold)
Sep 13, 2021
849
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Ohio
As mentioned above it’s on the owner / operator…can you prevent not just the tractor but the surrounding area from starting a forest/range fire….it’s your responsibility.

Anyways I’d consider to dig a pit, or have one dug for you…ideally push in (or drop with forks / grapple). (Don’t put the front tires over the lip.).
 

Vlach7

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L47 305DT JD500C
Dec 16, 2021
100
38
28
Frazier Park Ca
I covered the smoldering remnants with dirt when I had to go to work the next day, over a month later and with snow on top of it I noticed smoke smoldering out.
 

GeoHorn

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May 18, 2018
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Old Paint makes a point and it prompts me to share a bit of training I was fortunate to receive…. A way to remember what the “code” is on a Fire Extinguisher: ABC types for example…What does it mean a 5:BC extinguisher…?? will it work on a wastebasket fire…??

A = is for fighting a fire of anything that leaves an ASH, such as paper, wood, cloth, etc.

B= is for anything which will BOIL…such as gasoline, oil, melting-plastic, paint, etc.

C= is for anything which will carry a CURRENT …such as electrical fires.

Hope you find that as helpful as I did.
 
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