Wildland firefighting poses specific challenges that make structural firefighting gear impractical. Wildland fires can cover large areas, often in thick trees and brush or on the side of a mountain. Light weight and mobility are key. Most wildland firefighting never involves the extreme temperatures found in structural firefighting.
There are several key pieces of gear that are required by WCB regulations:
- coveralls or long sleeve shirt/pants combo made from cotton, wool, denim, or flame resistant material
- head protection (hardhat / helmet) with chin strap
- leather boots with minimum 8" uppers and lugged sole
- eye protection (goggles, safety glasses, visor or screen)
Most structural turnout gear meets these requirements, but is bulky, heavy, and limits mobility. It is therefore recommended to not use it for wild land fires.
Depending on the duties assigned, other PPE may be either required or strongly recommended.
If working around pumps or a chainsaw, hearing protection is highly recommended. There are disposable foam earplugs available in most of the firetrucks.
Leather gloves can beneficial if using hand tools like shovels and pulaskis. Gloves should also be worn if handling used firehose that has been dragged through ashes or firefighting foam.
If working in low light or at night, a flashlight or headlamp should be used, unless working with portable work lights or using scene lights from a firetruck.
A knife or multi-tool can come in handy on many fire scenes.
A length of webbing can be used for securing pumps and hoses, or a variety of other uses.
Many firefighters keep a small notebook and pen/pencil with them for writing notes including addresses, tasks, radio channels, or expected changes to weather conditions.
If not issued a radio, a whistle should be carried for use as a distress signal in case of injury or other urgent issue.
- Wildland firefighters are required to wear certain protective equipment, while other equipment is optional
- There is no optional protective equipment. If it is issued, firefighters are required to use it.