Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - Apr 19th, 4:00 PM


Prescribed Burn Apparatus

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Don Plumlee


The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is the support center for wild land firefighting in the US located in Boise, ID. One of the many activities that the NIFC coordinates is prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are one of NIFC’smanagement tools to help prevent major forest fires by burning undergrowth and they also help with maintaining and improving habitat. Recently, NIFC has decommissioned their prescribed burn apparatus due to lack of safety specifications, the Terra-Torch, produced by Firecon, based out of Ontario, Oregon. Last year, Boise State University produced a burn apparatus prototype for NIFC to replace the Terra-Torch. Although last year’sprototype was better than the Terra-Torch, NIFC wants Boise State University to re-engineer the apparatus utilizing standard parts with certain safety ratings such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating. Our group has focused on re-engineering the ergonomics and robustness of last year’sapparatus using standardized parts. We have focused our attention to the apparatus’sfront handle and igniter bracket. So far, we have developed a front handle design that will include two switches: one that will control the igniter switch and the other will control both the pump’sclutch and mapp gas solenoid. With this design, we will have a fail-safe system that will protect the operator and others around. The failsafe system will shut down the apparatus in case the operator would happen to fall and or drop the apparatus. This would include extinguishing the flame and disengaging the clutch to the pump. Our design for the igniter bracket include: two hose clamps and a curved flame tip. The two hose clamps and curved flame tip will provide easy adjustability for any weather condition to ensure proper ignition of the gelled fuel. In near future, we plan on relocating the sparker ignition box, and mapp gas solenoid. Once these items are completed, we will have a working prototype. We will first test our prototype with water to ensure that our apparatus is sealed properly. If the water test is a success then by mid March, we plan on testing our prototype with NIFC using the actual gelled fuel. The exact date is unknown at this time due to weather conditions and NIFC’s schedule. Once we have the form of our apparatus finalized, we also plan on having the entire apparatus powder coated Boise State blue and orange.