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Fire District 3 adds new wildland weapon

Next month, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 will debut a new fire engine intended to give crews an edge fighting fires where wildland and urban areas meet.

The $350,000, 4-wheel drive Pierce wildland interface engine will offer firefighters better maneuverability on rugged terrain than a standard engine, said Deputy Chief Mike Hussey. Fire officials are still outfitting it and plan to turn it loose at the end of September.

“We can make a more aggressive attack on a wildland fire,” Hussey said.

Crews will be able to execute a “pump and roll” technique, which allows firefighters to spray water on a fire as they are walking, and the vehicle will keep pace with them as they go.

“A lot of your standard fire engines pull up, you set the emergency brake, and you engage the pump,” Hussey said. “This vehicle has the ability to continue to move out across the field. It can still pump as it rolls.”

Fire District 3 started looking for the new engine several years ago and ordered it last spring. It will be housed at the Scenic Fire Station in Central Point, which opened in June. Most of its calls will be to more rural locales, including the Gold Hill and Sams Valley area, Hussey said, along with calls to the outskirts of Medford. The district also responds to calls in White City, Eagle Point, Dodge Bridge and Agate Lake.

Jackson County Fire District No. 5, which covers the southern Rogue Valley, added a new wildland engine to its fleet in February. The hope, Hussey said, is to have a shared five-engine task force among multiple Rogue Valley agencies, including Medford Fire-Rescue.

“It’ll respond as part of our complete wildland package,” Hussey said. “It’ll just add greater versatility.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

A new $350,000, 4-wheel drive Pierce wildland interface engine will offer District 3 firefighters better maneuverability on rugged terrain than a standard engine. Fire District 3 photo