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

Lil Foot

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1979 B7100DT Gear, Nissan Hanix N150-2 Excavator
May 19, 2011
6,527
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Peoria, AZ
Did it look like this?
This was burned in the Tinder Fire in northern AZ a few years back, but your post reminded me of it.
tinder BH.jpg
 

The Evil Twin

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L2501
Jul 19, 2022
531
375
63
Virginia
curious,
why do some of you dig a pit for your fires ?
Is it a dedicated spot just for fires ?
no one around me has a 'fire pit'...
For me, the reasons are three fold:
I can burn in higher winds without the breeze carrying larger embers. 20 mph gusts don't affect the fire.
When I'm done in that location, I can bury the remnants and move to a new location (lots of old dead/ downed trees on our property).
Easier to extinguish should it get out of control. Just bulldoze the dirt back in.
This one is about 10' in diameter and 5' deep.
20220910_133942.jpg
 

Freeheeler

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b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
682
486
63
Knoxville, TN
Mine is not really a pit, just flat ground with tree trunks as boarder. I burn all my brush, yard debris in it. It's also good for hanging around with friends while hydrating with beverages.
 
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JP_Austin

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Kubota M4D-071
Feb 15, 2022
21
11
3
Austin TX
I keep nothing more than a rake at hand to put out small areas of grass right around the base of the pile. I don't burn in dry conditions and I clear the area around the pile prior to lighting it. Have never had a fire come anywhere close to getting out of control.
That and don't burn in windy or very dry conditions. I have been waiting nearly 8 months to burns some mesquite piles. I will use the grapple to get it all together. Mow around the pile nice and short. Like others said just use a shovel and rake to maintain things. I am lucky while running the water line into the property I dropped hydrants about every 100'. A garden hose is right near the burn area and it comes in handy for those hot flying ashes that inevitably drift off.
 

GeoHorn

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M4700DT, LA1002FEL, Ferguson5-8B Compactor-Roller, 10KDumpTrailer, RTV-X900
May 18, 2018
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Texas
The story about cooking-oil burns reminded me of the time as a Boy Scout and had an iron skillet sitting on campfire-coals cooking bacon…. the splattering bacon engulfed the entire skillet of bacon ….and unthinking, I grabbed that iron skillet handle and jerked the skillet out of the fire…. burning the palm of my hand on the handle…but worse, splashing a tidal-wave of burning bacon-grease onto the back of my hand and forearm. 🔥
 
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bearskinner

Active member

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BX25D, snowblower, PHD, Grapple, Snow blade, land Plane
Sep 1, 2014
866
141
43
N. Idaho
I use my grapple all the time to feed the fire pit. I have 3 separate burn pit/pile areas depending on where I am on the property. There all dug out almost 2 feet deep about 10x10’ across. I burn huge piles of branches, brush and pine logs etc every year. Once the pile is going, I grapple a large pile, ( from 100+ feet away) if there’s any wind, I’ll be on the correct side of it. ( not in my face) I drop the brush 20’ out, then use the grapple top fingers like your hand, and push into the fire pit, keeping tires, hoses etc away from the fairly small fire. It’s like flicking your fingers towards the fire.
I wouldnt feed it if it was so hot I didn’t want to be near the fire. A little common sense goes a long way.
 
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fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
1,996
1,395
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Eastham, Ma
I have mine ON the tractor and in every vehicle. (y)

View attachment 90639
That looks like a little 2-1/2 pounder!
If you have ever have a fuel fire that may not be enough.
I lost an entire house due to an insufficient extinguisher capacity, fighting a Gravely mower fire.
I keep a 5 Lb. dry chemical extinguisher on my Kubota TLB.

Also: remove that extinguisher from it's bracket every 6 to 12 months, turn it upside down and smack it a few times with a short length of 2 x 4...... to break up the settled power.
 

skeets

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BX 2360 /B2601
Oct 2, 2009
12,978
1,727
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SW Pa
I have use my tractors to tend fires since like forever. But then I use a push blade snow blade dozer blade or what ever your local nomenclature is. Push pull back ,,push pull back, and if the fire is too hot for your skin its too hot for the bota, with the blade float and you dont pick hot embers , and if you do it after it rains or snows its even better,, just MHO
 

Flintknapper

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L2350DT
May 3, 2022
609
731
93
Deep East Texas
I have use my tractors to tend fires since like forever. But then I use a push blade snow blade dozer blade or what ever your local nomenclature is. Push pull back ,,push pull back, and if the fire is too hot for your skin its too hot for the bota, with the blade float and you dont pick hot embers , and if you do it after it rains or snows its even better,, just MHO

^^^^^

Words to the wise...... (y)
 

Quick

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B2601, LA435, BH70, LP SGC0554 Grapple, LP RB1672 Rear Blade, King Kutter 60" BB
Sep 23, 2021
101
134
43
St. Clair, MO.
I'm doing what I know to do. What else can you share with me?
My suggestion is to just take your time. With the size of those trees, you'll have tons of heat stored to re-ignite the fire as it burns down. Let it burn down before adding more. I've burnt off all of my brush, stumps, and dead wood from clearing land in this manner. I've used the bucket and grapple to stir the fire. When using the grapple, open fully and tilt down when pushing new brush in or stirring to keep the tractor as far away as possible.
 

Quick

Active member

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B2601, LA435, BH70, LP SGC0554 Grapple, LP RB1672 Rear Blade, King Kutter 60" BB
Sep 23, 2021
101
134
43
St. Clair, MO.
Crap, I replied to the first page of this thread. Didn't realize it was 4 pages long. Folks are crazy! :p
 
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bearskinner

Active member

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BX25D, snowblower, PHD, Grapple, Snow blade, land Plane
Sep 1, 2014
866
141
43
N. Idaho
Drop branches, push to the fire, back up…..
Repeat till done

A33B102A-C5FF-4D0F-B1C3-50D23B83E56D.png
 
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Brazos

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L2501DT
Jul 12, 2016
106
1
18
Texas
I have burned a lot of piles and the tractor is a key part of a successful burn. I am selective on the days I burn. High humidity is key. Rain a day or two ahead of the burn and/or forecasted right after the burn is perfect. Little to no wind is good. I use the tractor with the bucket to push up the edges of the fire And use the bucket to back drag on my way out to expose dirt. I keep my front tires out of it and back out in a hurry. If possible I run 300-400’ of hose from my house to the fire with a sprinkler on the end and keep moving it around. Fire extinguishers work amazingly well. I had that one fire that jumped to some dry grass when some wind picked up and fire extinguishers saved my ass. So now I keep one by Each fire so I don’t have to run back to the house to get one. I burned a few piles this past week and it was perfect. Almost now wind A rain in the forecast a day later. The fire did its thing and got to sit there and smolder and burn down to nearly nothing before the rain hit. If you are burning cedar it gets exciting as it takes off and shoots flames way in the air. Make sure if you are burning cedar you are clear of anything that might catch on fire. The plus side of cedar is once it get past the dramatic it burns down quickly and won’t be smoldering for days on end like a pile of oak. My piles are typically very large. I start early and typically by 2:pM everything is under control and I get to crack open a beer and enjoy what’s left of the fire.
 

Lil Foot

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1979 B7100DT Gear, Nissan Hanix N150-2 Excavator
May 19, 2011
6,527
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Peoria, AZ
Where my place is in the mountains, we are very lucky to have a forest service owned/run slash burn pit.
It is a large area, roughly 1/4 mile X 200yds, 4-10' dp, and was created when the highway was put in; it was a quarry, the source of rock/gravel for building the highway.
It is <3 miles from my place.
They divided it into 2 halves, and you can dump any natural materials- logs, tree trimmings, leaves, pine needles, etc.
When one half is full, they close it, open the other half, and burn the closed pit.
There is also a smaller pit for dumping rock, dirt, etc.
The idea is to eventually fill the pit with "natural" materials, to restore it.

The problems come from (of course) a$$hole people.
There are only two rules, only natural materials, and dump at the rear of the pit, filling towards the entrance. (clearly marked in multiple places)
The biggest daily problem is people dumping garbage, building supplies, old appliances, etc., that the forest service then has to spend $$$ to remove.
(I have had two flats from nails from old building materials)
The other problem is that people are too lazy or too stupid to dump at the rear, usually blocking off huge areas of space that can't be filled.
This causes the forest service more work, time, and money (more of my tax $) to haul a big bulldozer out there to "push" the slash into piles, opening up the area for use again. (which AHs promptly block off again)
The forest service regularly gets fed up the the stupidity and threatens to close the pit, forcing everyone to haul the slash to a pay dump, a 90 mile round trip.
In past times, the FS had an employee stationed at the pit, who watched/directed people to do things correctly, but that practice is long gone in these days of budget cuts and fear of confronting anyone.

Still, even with all the problems, we are lucky to have the pit so near, and I hope it stays available.
Saves me from having to burn on the land, and, even more importantly, keeps the idiots around me from burning on the land.