National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Dozer/Plow Operations


Dozers and tractor plows provide suppression and support capability for fire operations. When working on or around dozers on the fireline, it is important to respect the following guidelines:

  • Load/unload equipment from the transport in a safe manner on a level, stable surface.
  • Park transport in an area free of vegetative fuel. Clear an area if needed to protect parked equipment.
  • Do not sit or bed down near equipment. Walk around the equipment before starting or moving it.
  • Lower the dozer blade and/or fire plow to the ground when the equipment is idling or stopped.
  • When working around a dozer or tractor plow, stay at least 100 feet in front or 50 feet behind the equipment.
  • Allow no one but the operator to ride on the equipment.
  • Never get on or off equipment while it is moving.
  • Provide front and rear lights for equipment working at night or in heavy smoke.
  • Provide lights and fluorescent vests to personnel working with dozer/tractor plow units.
  • Use hand signals for direction and safety.
  • Do not use a dozer or tractor plow without a canopy or brush guard and radio communications.
  • Operators will wear required personal protective equipment (PPE) and carry a fire shelter.
  • Be aware of different fuel types, rates of spread, and flammability.
  • Watch for wetlands, steep slopes, rocks, ditches, and other obstacles that might stop the equipment.
  • Do not get too far ahead of a firing crew during firing operations.
  • Anchor the line to a secure firebreak and create a black line (burn out) until the fire is completely enclosed.
  • Tractor plow operators should wear headgear protection for head, face, eyes, and ears while also providing radio reception and ventilation capabilities.
  • Tractor plow crews should consist of a minimum of two people.
  • When the dozer or tractor plow is equipped with a hand-clutch lever, always take equipment out of gear when mounting and dismounting.


Vehicles - Roads
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Feb 2021

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