Without assessing blame for what caused the situation, there’s little room for debating that the great rural expanses of the United States are dealing with an accelerating number of wildfires that are increasingly frequent, widespread and destructive. And since they do most of their work out of the immediate public eye, many Americans are only peripherally aware that every fire season, thousands of dedicated wildland firefighters literally get on their hands and knees with very basic tools to prevent these blazes from devouring everything in their path. Head into the American West, and you’ll encounter a lot of fire apparatus bearing the gentle green livery of the U.S. Forest Service. These rigs are fairly common sights across the Green Mountains of Vermont, and can also be spotted in various parts of undeveloped Florida, where wildfires are frequently a serious issue. The Ford Motor Company and its partner Filson, the 123-year-old Seattle-based producer of outdoor and survival gear, have answered the alarm and produced a pair of new-generation Broncos as rapid-intervention vehicles for responding to wildland fire incidents.
The Bronco-Filson Fire Rig, as it’s called, poses above with a 1990s Bronco that was broadly used by the U.S. Forest Service. Built on the four-door version of the new Bronco, the Fire Rig fits a WARN winch up front, adds a RIGID light bar to its roof rack, then adds in water tanks, Pulaski cutting tools, a Hannay hose reel, Kimtek rescue/EMS skid and Stihl chainsaw. Filson has outfitted the Bronco’s interior with branded fireproof ripstop nylon. Are you liking this? The new-generation Bronco, in both two- and four-door models, hits Ford showrooms in the spring.