No, we’re not talking a football “Red Zone Defense,” though I’m sure that most of you savvy and sooty wildfire, wildland firefighters, interface crews and smoke jumpers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. The Red Zone is that mean little strip between the wildland and the land populated by way too many human beings these days, along with their homes and assorted stuff and domiciles. It’s known more commonly as the WUI, which is pronounced just like “Gooey.” Unfortunately, the WUI has been making far too many headlines this year (and for those of you who don’t own any yellow shirts and green pants made out of Nomex, don’t know that a Pulaski is a Polish holiday, or get bounced around inside the guts of a Type-III for days on end, or jump out of perfectly good airplanes wearing football helmets on top of wildfires, I’m only going to say this once: W-U-I stands for Wildland Urban Interface). Explosive and erratic wildland fires have been busting through the Red Zone of the WUI, way too often in 2017 and 2018, destroying a lot of property and causing way too much pain and danger for everyone involved.
While there’s not much we can do about fire behavior, we sure can try to make better tools to help the professionals who are out there putting it all on the line, day after day.
For decades, we’ve been hunched over the workbench, chewing pencils down to the nub, filling the trash can with scribbled napkins, in a never ending effort to refine and develop more effective wildland and interface trucks. I think the success of our wildland and interface engines shows you that you can never stop pushing the limits of fire trucks. While those are both great fire trucks, with the AF-WUI™ we think we’ve cracked the code for a better balanced and total-ass-kicking wildland urban interface engine.
We’ve put together the absolute best parts of the Type-III with the best parts of the Type-I. We’ve all seen some other efforts in this direction, but more often than not it’s just been sliding a low-clearance 4×4 chassis under a Type-I, which essentially ends up looking like a slightly overweight Pavement Queen trying stand in wobbly high-heels. The first big pile of nasty that truck tries to climb over, she’s going be dragging her belly. With the AF-WUI™, we’ve put a compact and better handling engine on a high clearance 4×4 chassis, added a 2-speed transfer case and some wide-profile tires to allow the truck to climb over rocks and obstacles like a nimble Type-III.
We’ve also designed a Water Distribution System that puts the water where you need it, when you need it— like right now! Pump-and-oll, ground sweep nozzles, turret gun, a better compressed air foam system, a bigger more comfortable cab, it’s everything you need to defend those critical Red Zones.
Of course, if you want to know everything about the AF-WUI™, you’d have to visit me at the workbench, and I just don’t have the time. That’s all for now. Like I said, I have to get back to the workbench, there’s always more work to get done