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TimberWest November/December 2013

May/June 2015

Photo of the Schlafer team at Covelo, Calif., with Paul Shandel on the left, loader operator, Ramon Echeverria, in the center and Antone Schlafer on the right.

Nothing Stands in Schlafer’s Way
Schlafer and his small logging crew don’t know the meaning of impossible, and that is one of the keys to his success.

IFG’s Wood-Eating Machine
Idaho Forest Group (IFG) recently unveiled its new HewSaw SL250 3.4 installation at the 2015 Small Log Conference.

Cold Winter Bumps Up Demand for Pellets
Purcell Premium Pellets, based
in Hauser, Idaho, talks pellets.

New Cable Yarder Takes to the Woods
T-Mar sees the need for a new steep slope cable yarder specifically designed to address the increasing volumes of second-growth timber.

Keeping the Wheels Turning
Ever since Joel Olson built his first logging road and bought his first three log trucks, innovation and attention to detail have been key to his business.

Top Five Causes of Forest Equipment Fires
Although most machines are equipped with fire suppression systems, operators can take steps to help prevent fires.

Tech Review
Firewood Processing Equipment


In the News

Association News

Machinery Row

New Products

Guest Column





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Forest equipment firesTop Five Causes of Forest Equipment Fires... and How Operators Can Avoid Them

By Nate Burton, Technical & Safety Services Manager, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Equipment fires—expensive in terms of injuries, property damage, and lost production—increased through the economic downturn, possibly a consequence of squeezed revenue and earnings.

“Contractors appear to be doing more with less,” said Chris Colello of Acadia Insurance, an insurer of logging operations. “This may involve double shifting—putting on more hours in a shorter time.”

Colello says aging equipment, fluid leaks, and worn electronics result in more fires. And although machines are generally equipped with fire suppression systems (often at insurer request), operators can take steps to help prevent fires.

For one, keep debris away. “The work environment is as dirty, if not dirtier, than even agricultural harvesting,” says John Walker of Walker Fire Forensics. “You move a tree, debris falls. Processing and chipping creates more debris. This ‘trash’ finds its way into the engine compartment.”

Forest equiopment firesTop Causes

Debris accumulation is only one cause of forestry equipment fires. Here are five causes of forest machine fires and how operators can help avoid them:

1. Debris in the Engine Compartments

Leaves, needles, twigs, and sawdust will build up, particularly around engines. This highly combustible debris must be removed frequently—once a day is not enough—make it a habit, check for debris at breaks, and if needed take time to remove it.

2. Hotter-Running Tier 4 Engines

Tier 4 engines run 15° to 20°F hotter than earlier models, so it’s more critical to remove debris. The injector pump’s fuel bypass to the tank is also warmer.

3. Debris Ignited by Rotating Components

Rotating parts can rub on debris until it ignites. Remove this debris to prevent fires.

4. Altered Electrical Systems

Unauthorized and inadequate modifications and ‘temporary repairs’ to electrical systems frequently lead to shorts, overloading, and fires. Never add unauthorized electrical components to wiring. Only use power outlets provided by the manufacturer.

5. Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Ignition Hazard

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) poses a greater ignition hazard than earlier diesel with higher sulfur content. The absence of sulfur allows static charge buildup in fuel delivery systems. Higher fuel tank temperatures (see #2) make vapors more combustible should a spark occur, resulting in a fire or explosion.

Bonding and grounding machines with the fuel delivery system is now important when refueling. A simple wire connection between the equipment creates bonding; an electrical path between the tank and the ground creates grounding, to help dissipate static charge and reduce spark potential.

Direct any fuel system bonding and grounding questions to your fuel system supplier and review the Association of Equipment Manufacturers bulletin on “Best Practices during Refueling” at

Safety is everyone’s job. Hazard awareness and reduction keeps everyone working and minimizes injuries and property losses while improving working conditions for all.