Cost, production and effectiveness of masticated fireline.
Fire managers are continuously looking for improved methods to construct fireline with minimal resource damage. One option for fireline construction that has so far received limited attention is the use of mastication equipment. This study evaluated a masticating disk mounted on a self-leveling feller- buncher for the cost, speed, and adherence to fireline specifications while constructing approximately 5 miles of fieline across a range of terrain and fuel types. Field trials were conducted during the fall of 2015 on the University of Montana’s Bandy Experimental Ranch. Production rates and cost of masticated fireline construction will be compared to traditional handline constructed to the same specifications (30-foot canopy break, 10-foot fuel break, 1- to 3-foot scrape to bare mineral soil). Equipment modifications will be recommended to address lapses in effectiveness as compared to fireline specifications.