TD News, Number 1, 2009 - Internet Web Site: '' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: ''

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Testing Firefighter Undergarments

Wildland firefighters produce a lot of body heat when they're working. They also produce a lot of perspiration. Firefighters understand why they wear flame-resistant outer garments, but synthetic undergarments may seem like a personal choice. Synthetic undergarments are designed to move moisture from the skin and may improve comfort. The "Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations 2009" instructs firefighters to wear only undergarments made of 100-percent natural fibers because synthetic materials, such as polyester, polypropylene, and nylon, may melt when exposed to direct flame or radiant heat.

When MTDC compared synthetic materials to natural fibers during tests, 100-percent cotton and wool undergarments did not ignite, melt, or char. The tech tip "Tests of Undergarments Exposed to Fire" (0851-2348-MTDC) provides the test results. View the undergarment flame engulfment and radiant heat exposure tests at (Username: t-d, Password: t-d).

For additional information on the firefighter undergarment tests, contact Tony Petrilli, project leader (phone: 406-329-3965, email:

Series of photos of a dummy wearing firefighter undergarment in a burn chamber while being exposed to flames.

Vehicle Washing Systems That Prevent the Spread of Seeds and Spores

Nonnative invasive species of plants and fungi can upset the natural balance of an ecosystem. Vehicles used on Federal, State, and private lands may transport seeds and spores far from where they were picked up. Several contractors have developed systems for cleaning vehicles and equipment to remove seeds and spores. The San Dimas Technology and Development Center (SDTDC) partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to evaluate a range of systems for efficiency and cost. The report "Comparison of Relocatable Commercial Vehicle Washing Systems" (0851-1808P-SDTDC) was developed to provide contracting officers from various agencies with guidance on contract washing systems.

For more information about vehicle washing systems, contact Joe Fleming, project leader (phone: 909-599-1267, ext. 263; email:

Comparison of Relocatable Commercial Vehicle Washing Systems publication cover.

Hydration Systems for Wildland Firefighters

Many wildland firefighters aren't happy with the plastic canteens they're issued. The canteens are not durable, they don't keep the water cool, and the caps are easy to lose. Some crews have experimented with different water bottles and bladder hydration systems. SDTDC evaluated a number of hydration systems for wildland firefighters. The report "Firefighter Hydration Evaluation" (0851-1814P-SDTDC) provides the results.

For more information about hydration systems for wildland firefighters, contact George Broyles, project leader (phone: 909-599-1267, ext. 277; email:

Photo of a firefighter drinking water from a bottle.

Wildland Firefighter Health and Safety Report

Since 1962, MTDC, in a cooperative research agreement with the University of Montana Human Performance Laboratory, has conducted field and laboratory studies that relate to firefighting. Periodically, results of these studies are sent to the field.

Issue No. 12 of the "Wildland Firefighter Health and Safety Report" (0851-2814P-MTDC) focuses on job-related stress and its influence on the health and performance of members of incident management teams. The report includes project-related field studies of wildland firefighters, recent data on the causes of wildland firefighter fatalities, and a preview of the forthcoming third edition of "Fitness and Work Capacity."

Health and Safety Report publication cover

For more information on job-related stress and its effects on health and performance, contact Brian Sharkey, project leader (phone: 406-329-3989,

Selecting a Slash Mat Removal Solution

During logging, slash is often spread on skid trails to prevent soil compaction, ruts, and erosion. When logging is completed, well distributed slash can return nutrients to the soil and provide woody debris to help retain soil moisture. Concentrations of slash may require treatments to meet silvicultural, fire hazard reduction, or soil resource objectives. The tech tip "Removing Slash Mats" (0851-2312-MTDC) discusses a number of ways to remove slash, from burning it in place to chipping it and hauling it away.

Photo of a backhoe with a chopping device in place of a bucket.

For more information on slash mat removal, contact Scott Groenier, project leader (phone: 406-329-4719, email:

Reducing Fuels in Sensitive Environments

Fuel reduction on forested lands has become a major issue in recent years. Overcrowded timber stands increase fire danger and the risk of disease and insect infestation. Planning biomass reduction projects on steep slopes or in environmentally sensitive areas can be complicated. The Fuel Reduction Projects Web site was developed by the MTDC Web group to provide forest managers with a quick and easy way to access information on this subject. "Fuel Reduction Projects in Sensitive Areas and on Steep Slopes: A Guide to Information" (0851-2W03-MTDC) provides general information on fuel reduction and includes links to many sites with more specific information. This site can be viewed on the Forest Service's internal computer network at

For additional information on fuel reduction in sensitive areas, contact Bob Beckley, project leader (phone: 406-329-3996, email:

Photo of logs being dropped into a portable incinerator.

Testing the Combustibility Potential of Diesel Particulate Filters

Diesel particulate filters are emission-control devices designed to filter particulate matter (soot) produced by diesel engines. These filters are part of an exhaust-treatment system developed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission requirement for 2007 model and newer diesel trucks. The filter's internal temperature must be 932 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter for the filter to function properly. SDTDC designed an exploratory test to measure the temperature of system components and to determine whether the exhaust system's surface temperature or the exhaust gas temperature of new vehicles equipped with diesel particulate filters can ignite fine wildland fuels.

The report "Diesel Exhaust Emission System Temperature Test" (0851-1816P-SDTDC) describes the results of the test performed on five different vehicle models equipped with these filters. The five vehicle models were selected because they were representative of the vehicle chassis used for wildland fire applications.

Diesel Exhaust publication cover.

For additional information on diesel particulate filters, contact Ralph Gonzales, project leader (phone: 909-599-1267, ext. 212; email:

Situational Awareness Fire Posters

The "Situational Awareness" electronic poster collection has a new addition. Guy Pence of the Boise National Forest worked with MTDC to create the Critical Fire Weather poster at (Username: t-d, Password: t-d).

Situational awareness posters focus on wildland firefighting safety concerns and are good tools for safety discussions, PowerPoint presentations, or printing. View all situational awareness posters at (Username: t-d, Password: t-d).

Poster of different kinds of clouds and text that reads, How's your Situational Awarness for Critical Fire Weather?  Look to the sky.

For more information on situational posters, contact Mary Ann Davies, project leader (phone: 406-329-3981, email:

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