Truck Envy

Truck Envy

This isn't a picture of one of our fire brush trucks. Ours is even older and funkier than this 1967 model -- and much less shiny -- but it is roughly similar in configuration. Like all of the shoestring volunteer operations in this part of the country, it's a military surplus 2-1/2 or 5-ton truck with a bunch of stuff welded onto it.

But, now, this is a brush truck. Or at least a pre-production conception of one that some Australian has dreamed up. We don't assign our trucks to particular drivers; it's first-come first-served, which has a lot to do with who lives closest to the station and is most motivated to get there fast. I can see fistfights breaking out over who got to a truck like this first. We'd never get the guys to quit training with it.

This is a beauty!

The truck operates with a crew of two instead of our usual five or six, employing remote-controlled water cannon. From the website, these are specs to make you emit those pig-noises Tim Allen used to make when describing his latest power-tool purchase:

The purpose-built monocoque design means the the shell takes most of the stresses and gull wing doors provide the most effective access to its unconventional form. Bodywork is protected by military-grade sacrificial thermo-ceramic intumescent paints (swelling, heat-resistant paint to you and me), and windows and bodywork are further insulated by advanced aerogel laminated insulation.

An auxiliary water store supplies an intelligent temperature-controlled spray-down system which allows the vehicle to stay fully operational and mobile while in use. It maintains current 4WD capability with generous approach, departure and over-ramp angles, suspension travel, ground clearance and minimized turn circle, and additionally employs central tire inflation (CTI) and run flat tire (RFT) technology coupled with beadlock tires that allow an extensive band of dynamic pressure control to aid in traversing complex terrain. It has a mechanically injected large displacement diesel engine designed with fire ground conditions in mind.

I can't even imagine what a beast like this would cost. Alas, the fabulous shower of Stimubucks it would take to enable us to buy it is something that never will happen in this truculent red state. We'll just have to wait 50 years.

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