Prescribed Fire Equipment

Pumper Unit

This is described in detail here

Pumper unit DSCF1269


This tool combines an ax and an adze. We need it when conducting savanna and woodland burns. We use it during mop up, when downed logs are smoldering and water alone cannot put them out. It chisels, chops, and scrapes the burning section sections of large logs, allowing the water to be effective. 



A flapper is invaluable but an often misused tool. A smotherer would be a more appropriate name.

This tool is used to smother small flames along the firebreak. It is drug along the ground preventing oxygen from getting to the fire — smothering it out. This tool is ineffective on rocky area or other “non smooth” landscape surfaces. Because the tool has a thick rubber flap, it doesn’t flow into the crevises rocky areas, leaving the fire to continue burning.

Folks often use this with a flapping motion — up and down. This can spread the fire by sending flames into the air. It also doesn’t reduce the fire since its proving oxygen to it with the up and down, bellows-type motion.

Used properly and in the appropriate landscape, this tool will reduce your water use. Although we have a 100-gallon pumper unit that can be easily refilled at Driftless Prairies, this isn’t always the case. Sometime you’ll find yourself needing to conserve the water in your back can. 


Back Cans

We prefer the metal cans although there are other styles out there. These area designed with a center baffle inside to keep the water from sloshing side to side and disrupting one’s balance.

They come with a nozzle that can spray a single line or double lines. The single line is the most effective when needing to lay down a wet line on a firebreak. It provides sufficient water to create a solid “wet line” that a back burning fire usually does not move through. Follow this up with a flapper, and you’ve secured the firebreak nicely!

This tool is ideal for flat or craggy situations. It can put fire out where the flapper is ineffective. It is also used to squirt burning and smoldering logs in savanna and woodland burns. It can easily prevent these logs from catching fire.

Back can

Drip torch

Drip torches are the means by which we start the fire during a prescribed burn and how we drag that fire along the burn break. They are time savers. 

The key to using a drip torch is fairly simple. Never blow it out as you could suck those flames into your lungs. Smother it with your gloved hand. 

Assembling it is important and instructions will come with each one your purchase. 

Drip torch