Wildland firefighters, no matter the size of the fire they’re up against, do everything in their power to stop the fire from spreading and minimize its impact. They accomplish this through a variety of means and tools, and one of those tools is a fire hose.
Hoses help fight against massive flames, but these fire hoses have a typical range, and this limitation can often get in the way. Thankfully, when firefighters understand this range, they can plan around it and still do everything in their power to stop the spread of wildfires as quickly as possible.
Finding the typical range of a fire hose can be tricky because there are multiple variables at play, including the hose’s diameter, water pressure, and angle. Typically, wildland fire hoses will range from ¾ to 2 inches in diameter. And the water pressure of the hose will range from 20 to 400 pounds per square inch, depending on the situation and availability of water.
In the most common situations, firefighters use a lightweight, single-jacket hose with a reach of about 50–100 feet. This reach is important because operators need to keep a good distance away from the fires. Fires can sometimes be unpredictable, and firefighters need to keep a distance of around 10 feet to keep themselves safe.
One of the major reasons that the range of a fire hose can vary is the unpredictable nature of water sources that wildland firefighters use. Depending on the fire’s location, firefighters could tap into a fire hydrant or other traditional water source to access water. Using connectors, they can lengthen their hose to reach 100 feet in length or more. In more remote locations, firefighters may tap into other water sources, such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. If these water sources are closer to the fires, then with the right pumps, firefighters can get a high pressure. This means the range of their hoses’ reach can stay closer to the upper range of about 100 feet.
While a firehose can do a lot and reach ranges of 100 feet in ideal situations, it’s not always the best solution for the fires that firefighters tackle. Instead of aiming high, firefighters need to use their hoses and the water to hit the bottom of the fires—the source. They may also use the hoses to try and stop the fires from spreading around trees and branches, but more often, they’re spending their time spraying the ground.
The typical range of a fire hose can seem restrictive, but it’s something that wildland firefighters are aware of and work around. Going far off into the wilderness, firefighters already know their hoses won’t reach everywhere they want. However, even though these hoses have a standard range, you can still do a lot with them with the different fire nozzles you can get at The Supply Cache. With a variety of nozzle tips, you can combat any wildfire standing in your way regardless of hose range.