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MTDC Portable Vehicle Washer Interim Report

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Trent, Andy; Karsky, Richard; Gilmour, Scott. 2002. MTDC Portable Vehicle Washer. 0234 2836. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. 10 p.

Describes a prototype vehicle washer that is mounted on a flatbed trailer and can be towed by a 3/4- ton pickup truck. The washer is designed to be used at fire camps where weed seeds need to be removed from the underbody and body of vehicles before and after the vehicles leave the area. Operators use two high-pressure wands to wash the vehicle's sides, wheels, and wheel wells. The vehicle's underbody is washed when the vehicle drives over an oscillating, high-pressure, underbody washer. An industrial rubber mat with foam-filled barriers on all sides confines the wash water, which is filtered before being reused. The prototype washer was tested from August 6 to 9 when a fire camp was being demobilized near Darby, MT. It took 2 to 3 minutes to wash a standard pickup truck, sport utility vehicle, or car. It took another minute or so to wash hotshot crew vehicles, fire engines, and a school bus. The washer water supply tank had to be refilled three times (about 175 gallons per refill) to wash 74 vehicles.

Keywords: fire camps, firefighting, washing, weed control, weeds

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