Wildland Fire Safety & Health Reporting Network

SAFENET Event Information
Create Agency Corrective Action

Event Start Date:
03/17/2017 1030
Event Stop Date:
Incident Name:
EGR on Type 6 Engine
Fire Number:
Local Unit:
Incident Type:
Wildland, Prescribed/Fuels Treatment
Incident Activity:
Support, Readiness/Preparedness
Stage of Incident:
Position Title:
Engine Captain And Crew 
Engine Operations 
Management Level:
Resources Involved:
2009 F550 Type 6 Engine 
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors:
Human Factors:
Other Factors:
Describe in detail what happened including the concern or potential issue, the environment (weather, terrain, fire behavior, etc), and the resulting health issue.

In March of 2017, the Swan Lake Ranger District sent a regional standard type 6 engine to the George Washington-Jefferson National Forest for Prescribed Fire and Wildland Fire support/preparedness. This model of fire engine is on the chassis of a 2009 Ford F550 with a 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Engine.

On March 17, 2017 the plan was for the engine crew to do project work while maintaining readiness for initial attack. The route to the project site included some steep hill climbs on state hwy roads; these roads were paved and normal commuting highways. While climbing one of these steep hills, the engine dramatically lost power resulting in a change of speed from 50MPH to 20MPH in less then 5 seconds. There was no warning light or dash board sensor that precluded this loss of power, all gauges were within normal operating ranges.

After the power loss the truck displayed "Reduce Engine Power" on the dashboard display and a wrench symbol. The truck was not able to operate above 20 mph, and with no power to climb hills at any speed.

Diagnosis of Issue:

Engine oil had overheated enough that the EGR system failed resulting in the need to replace 2 EGR Sensors, Fan Clutch, Water Pump, and Gaskets.

Concerns/Potential Issues:

In wildland fire and prescribed fire operations engine crews, and other line operators, rely on the capabilities of their equipment to preform to the minimum standard. Vehicles must be able to operate across a full spectrum of environments that includes usage for escape route travel, time sensitive critical holding or firing operations, life safety (Both Government and Private), and a myriad of other functions. For a vehicle in an emergency situation to go into a "Reduced Engine Power" mode is extremely dangerous.

There are a couple of scenarios that are extremely dangerous should this have occurred under different circumstances:

1. Reduced engine power/speed could lead to the entrapment or burn over of a vehicle thereby directly putting fire fighters at high risk who are relying on that vehicle.

2. This could occur at freeway speeds where a sudden loss of power/speed could lead to increased risk of a high speed vehicle accident, potentially involving multiple vehicles or roll over. This puts firefighters and the public at high risk.

3. Loss of a resource that fire managers are relying on to provide initial attack or extended attack operations. This reduces the capability and effectiveness of fire managers to provide an adequate response to emerging incidents.
Immediate Action Taken
Reporting Individual : please describe actions you took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.
I am not aware of any corrective action that can be put in place for this type of mechanical failure.

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