Forestry officials show off new wildfire equipment

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina forestry officials showed off new wildfire-fighting equipment that keeps firefighters safer while allowing them to get closer to the flames.

The agency displayed its new closed-cab fire suppression tractor Wednesday at the Statehouse, next to a 1996 model.

10 of the new units arrived at the Forestry Commission this week. They were bought with $3 million given to the agency in the current budget. The proposed budget for the coming year would provide an additional $3.5 million for 12 units.

The agency says the closed-cab units filter out smoke and keep the operator cool.

The cabs also provide a safe place if fire overruns the equipment. Now, open-cab operators have to hop into a safety tent as a dangerous last resort if a blaze rushes toward them.

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