Tender Truck for Rx Fire

By Bill Kleiman, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy

If you manage grasslands you likely also do prescribed fire. I have been posting fire and fire equipment articles with the GRN because I also provide content for the Illinois Prescribed Fire Council website….where you can find the extended version of this post and other fire equipment reviews.


A water tender is used to fill up the other pumper units being used on prescribed fires.  Water tenders need to hold and pump a lot of water.  They also are the place you put all those tools and supplies you don’t need in every vehicle.

We purchased an Enduraplas brand 300 gallon skid unit.  This post summarizes how we set up our tender truck using this new unit.

Bolting the skid to the truck bed:

Our truck is a stainless steel dump truck.  It has no tie down points for using straps to hold the skid tank in place.  I am reluctant to use straps anyway as they can be precarious, allowing the tank to slide about the bed and frequently being inadequate of a hold down.

Instead, we looked for a way to drill through the stainless bed and bolt the skid frame down.  We ended up concluding that the dump truck bed had frame members in the way of a simple straight bolt through the tender skid frame.  We were going to need metal fabrication.  We took the truck and tender skid to Bellini Welding in Dixon Illinois.  Their staff Tim McBride spent a day mounting the skid to the truck.  Below photo is the metal L channel that was added with photo below that finished mount.

Brian Bellini – who can fabricate anything, and with flair.

Tim McBride

Below are the baffle balls we purchased and dropped inside the tank.  They took all the slosh out of the tank when the truck moves.

Below is a type of tail gate we fashioned to keep stuff from falling out.

This tender skid unit uses a 5hp motor turning a centrifugal pump that can theoretically pump 120 gallons per minute.  I tested the flow rate that comes out of the 100 feet of ¾’ hose at a mere 13 gpm.  This flow rate is too low for a tender.

Below shows the solution as a plumbed bypass of the hose reel and a wide hose. The output is now a massive 73 gallons per minute.  The line fits in the pallet fork frame for storage.  The hose reel line still works too.


Thank you to volunteer maintenance tech Paul Mellen for working with me to get this tender set up.

Again, more details on tender here: https://www.illinoisprescribedfirecouncil.org/uploads/1/0/5/8/105892833/tender_enduraplas_2022.pdf


About Grassland Restoration Network blog

Bill Kleiman publishes this blog. Bill's daytime job is manager of Nachusa Grasslands. We are looking for guest authors on various topics of grassland habitat restoration. Contact me with your ideas or drafts.
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3 Responses to Tender Truck for Rx Fire

  1. Bryon Walters says:

    Very awesome! Doesn’t look too cumbersome or heavy to move around either. How many of those baffle balls fit in the tank! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Super innovation & advice Bill. Thank you so much for all you do. It’s really appreciated out on the prairie!!

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