Scania’s fire tanker truck set to combat forest blazes.
The worst-ever forest fires that raged in Sweden this past summer have highlighted the need for fire fighting vehicles that can manoeuvre in rough terrain. The Eksjö Rescue Services in southern Sweden have recently taken delivery of a Scania XT P 370 fire tanker truck expressly designed for operations in dense forests.
Built on a standard XT 6×6 chassis, the durable truck features a water tank with the capacity to hold 6,000 litres. “What distinguishes this truck is the flexible attachment between the frame and body in order to cope with the uneven movement in terrain,” says Johan Sand at the Atteviks Scania dealership. “With a rigid attachment, the tanks might crack. It has also been equipped with heavy-duty threaded off-road terrain tyres.”
Versatile army veteran
The Eksjö rescue services previously had an ex-army Saab-Scania SBAT 111S 6×6 tactical truck – the acronym for Special Bulldog Allwheeldrive Tandem – from 1976, first on loan and subsequently donated by the armed forces. “That was a really great truck in terrain but it was dated after 42 years and spares were increasingly difficult to obtain,” says Micael Carlsson, Head of the Eksjö Rescue Services.
Carlsson’s aim was to replace the vintage truck with a modern fire fighter. “However, we didn’t have the budget for a customised vehicle and were looking at meeting our requirements using off-the-shelf components.”
Following discussions with the Scania dealership, a special-order chassis was designed using standard components with bodywork by Sala Brand. “We’ve not yet actively used the vehicle but our staff has trained with the new truck,” says Carlsson. “It performs almost as well as the SBAT with another level of comfort and safety.”
Handling with care
The Eksjö area was luckily spared from forest fires last summer but the firefighting crews were kept busy in neighbouring areas and in battling major fires elsewhere. “We stand ready to assist others with firefighting resources but I don’t think that we’ll be taking the truck on the road; with these tyres, it a bit unsteady on tarmac. Besides, we need to take more care when handling this truck. A few more scratches here and there on the army truck really was of no concern.”
The Scania XT truck seats two but the Eksjö Rescue Services have other personnel carriers for crews. “The real advantage is not having to pull hose as far when establishing firebreaks.”
“Considering payload, we could have built larger volume tanks but that would have adversely affected manoeuvrability in terrain. And 6,000 litres are normally adequate when spraying for firebreaks, usually using no more than 100 litres per minute.”