When you think about a fire truck, you probably envision the iconic and colossal red trucks that rush to the rescue, lights flashing and sirens blaring. But what about when a blaze is raging deep in the forest? Those monstrous city rigs aren’t exactly the best choice for squeezing through the brush. This is where wildland fire engines come into play. Commonly known as a ‘brush truck,’ this emergency responder is a compact-ish platform agile enough to get through rugged terrain, with fire suppression systems on board for fire fighters to do what they do best. Considering these are off-road trucks, builders get to have quite a bit of fun with their builds. In our own octane-fueled way, we’re taking a look at some of the baddest brush trucks ever built in honor of those who risk their lives to fight fires and protect their fellow man.
Hampton Forestry 1967 Jeep Brush Truck
Jeeps are tough vehicles and have quite the history when it comes to being used by officials for tough jobs. Even by today’s standards the old platforms are still capable of being able to take a beating. This 1967 Jeep Kaiser used by the Hampton Forestry is a perfect example of just that. Of course the equipment on board is up-to-date, but the platform itself is over 50 years old! This isn’t just a decorative piece either, as it is actively used by the fire department when responding to emergencies.
Hummer Fire Truck
Hummers have to be the most decorated service vehicles of all time. They boast a tough legacy, with the ability to do anything and go anywhere. This is likely why Global Emergency Vehicles turned this 1994 military-grade beast into a mini-pumper brush truck. Why wouldn’t they? Hummers are fantastic off-road platforms with plenty of power. This makes them perfectly suited for hauling essential equipment when headed to the forest to take down an out-of-control fire.
General Fire Equip F-550
The Ford Super Duty is a regular among the fleets of municipalities all over the country. You’ve probably seen a few as the truck-of-choice by township workers for laying black top and spreading salt. But did you know that they can also be suited-up with fire suppression systems? Add in some suspension work and a killer set of tires, and that rig is perfect for crawling across the forest floor. There are plenty of fine examples of the Super Duty platform modified to take on this task, but General Fire Equipment’s version easily takes the cake. With 25.5 inches of ground clearance, it’s safe to say no fire stands a chance when this thing is on the way.
Skeeter Brush Truck 6×6 Fire Walker
If you weren’t convinced about the Ford Super Duty’s fire-fighting capabilities, think again. Here, we have another example of the platform being used by a department for remote fires. Although this time, you’ll find that a second rear axle has been added along with the essential equipment needed to fight fires. Another killer feature to pay mind to is the use of a four-door cabin. This means that even more brave men and women can tag along for the ride in the case of an emergency. Everything about this vehicle is two steps above a standard Super Duty response vehicle, making it one bad brush truck.
The Bulldog is self-proclaimed as one of the most capable full-sized fire trucks ever developed. And when you look at one, it’s easy to see why. While the looks may remind you of over-the-top toy trucks you played with as a child, make no mistake—this is no toy. With advanced fire suppression systems built in, the Bulldog can carry 2,000 gallons of water and foam as it treks across off-road terrain. Howe & Howe Technologies wanted to develop the most extreme brush truck in the world when they drew this thing up, and we have to say they’ve done a bang-up job.
With the anniversary of 9/11, we must pause and remember the brave souls who gave their own lives to rescue others on that fateful day. We must never forget that they laid it all on the line to do right by the people of New York City—and by extension, the entire United States. And while we may not have the opportunity to pay our respects to those first responders’ families or to sit with survivors, there are still ways to honor their courage and sacrifice.
Right now, in your home town, there are dozens of men and women who stand by, ready to respond when an emergency arises. Consider donating to your local department, or stopping by with some coffee and donuts, or simply shaking a hand and saying thanks when the opportunity presents itself. After all, that person may well be the one to save your life in a crisis.