Leaf blowers to clear mowed fire breaks

by Bill Kleiman

Leaf blowers are used to move vegetation off of fire breaks to make them less flammable.

A backpack leaf blower

I once sent two hardy youth, Ryan K and Austin S, out to clear two miles of woodland fire break, each with a back pack leaf blower. After a long day of noise, brambles in their faces, hills to go up and down, they got it done.

We needed a bigger tool. It ends up golf courses use tractor mounted leaf blowers to clear their fairways. They work for us too. Below is our leaf blower for about the last decade.

Here is a video of the leaf blower above clearing oak woodland fire break of leaves and mowed vegetation. These cost $4,00 to $5,000: https://youtu.be/dGYF0BHrZro

For prairie fire breaks we mow a break in the prairie, then use a hay rake to move the cut vegetation to the side. Look for the blog we have on hay rakes. Here is a video of a tractor mounted leaf blower removing the raked prairie, the windrow, off of the fire break: https://youtu.be/TWFiHMW8k4M

We still carry and use backpack leaf blowers. They are nice for tasks like short fire breaks, or blowing leaves from around small flammable things like sheds and wood piles, as in below:

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 Leaf blowers to clear mowed fire breaks

  1. Mike Saxton says:

    We have a https://buffaloturbine.com/debris-leaf-blowers/cyclone-pto#top Buffalo Turbine (BT) pto blower.

    It’s much longer than the agrimetal unit, which can make slaloming through trees tough. It’s especially tricky when going over uneven terrain because it’s so long and thus easy to bottom out. I like the narrowness of the agrimetal unit.

    The BT cone rotates 360 degrees with an electric switch. But you have to throttle all the way down in order to overcome the force of the wind to turn the cone with the electric motor. I prefer the hydraulic controls of the agrimetal over the electric of the BT.

    The air intake on the BT gets clogged with leaves frequently (even with careful operation) and the operator needs to get off the tractor to clear the debris many times over a couple miles of fire break. I found that the agrimetal blower clogs less frequently.

    Both blowers get the job done but, having operated both units extensively, I prefer the agrimetal.

  2. Shane Tripp says:

    In Arkansas we used backpack blowers to remove the cut materials off of mowed prairie breaks. Do you think the tractor blower would be effective for this without first raking the materials?

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