New trucks to help Wichita FD fight wildland fires

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – You will soon see a number of new fire trucks in Wichita.

Two of them are designed just to fight wildfires.

Right now when Wichita firefighters are called to a wildland fire, they often get stuck or have to walk hoses to fight the flames.

But, two new wildland trucks, as well as one modified truck, will benefit Wichita and surrounding areas.

“Wildland fire situations we were not very well equipped for that,” said Stuart Bevis, Wichita deputy fire chief.

Wichita fire’s first wildland truck will be making it’s debut on Oct. 1.

“Over the past few years, there’s been quite a few wildland fires, both around Sedgwick County and areas around the county,” said Bevis.

So, over the last few months, the department modified one of its existing trucks.

“This has an infrared cam on the front,” said Bevis, as he gave a tour of the modified vehicle.

The truck won’t only make spotting hotspots easier, it has other safety features as well.

“This cage that you’re standing in here this gives protection for firefighters to sit in these jump seats as the vehicle is rolling with these doors that can be closed,” said Bevis.

This wildland truck will benefit more than the city of Wichita.

“Wichita and Sedgwick County have an auto aid agreement so generally we try to send the closest unit to an emergency,” said Brad Crisp, deputy chief for Sedgwick County Fire District 1.

WFD will use it to help surrounding departments.

And with the city’s approval Tuesday to build two new wildland trucks, Wichita fire feels ready to go at the sound of a call.

“This is sort of our first step into it to where we can see hey what we can do with this vehicle and what’s the next best steps after that,” said Bevis.

Tuesday, Wichita City Council approved adding five new trucks and two refurbished ones.

The modified wildland truck is not included in that number.

Bevis is hoping those will be ready within the next year.

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