Ecology And Environment
Wildfire

Why Hoe Dags are useful in Wildfire Suppression



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Wildfire
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"Why Hoe Dags are useful in Wildfire Suppression"
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Image by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fighting runaway wildfires with a garden implement may sound a bit bizarre, but the hoe-dag can work wonders in efforts to control summer time grass and brush fires. The hoe-dag superficially resembles a mattock or grub hoe in appearance and size; its heat-treated carbon steel blade and short, stocky handle offer the user a formidable digging tool that can slash through weeds and hard-packed earth with considerable ease. The tough blade makes it possible to unearth and dispose of buried stones and pry small shrubs right out of the ground by their root systems. In the garden, the hoe-dag can create planting holes quicker than a shovel and with less effort; in a brush-fire situation, the implement enables the user to chop through undergrowth and matted weeds quickly in order to create a fuel-free path that flames cannot leap across.

The hoe-dag's rugged handle of seasoned beech wood helps create a well-balanced tool especially made for digging and chopping over prolonged periods of intensive use. One can employ a balanced tool for hard work with far less fatigue than comes with trying to use a tool that lacks good balance. In a fire-fighting situation, heavy work may continue relentlessly over many hours without pause or rest. The hoe-dags heavy blade also lessens the effort necessary to plunge the digging end of the tool deep into the ground. The user can let the weight of the blade do most of the work.

The hoe-dag's blade offers the user two cutting options. One end of the blade, being sharply pointed, cuts deep into hardened earth to create holes or to dislodge rocks and pry up shrubs. The other end of the blade ends in a flatter shape with a sharp edge, making it a perfect implement for chopping through heavy grass and weeds. It's like having two tools in one. The tough, hardened steel of the blade retains a sharp cutting edge for long periods of hard usage.

As a piece of fire-fighting equipment, the hoe-dag's relatively short (approximately fifteen inches) handle makes it an easier-to-carry tool than the more cumbersome implements such as shovels and regular hoes, both of which the hoe-dag can replace in the field in many circumstances. A well-made hoe-dag built to last a lifetime of hard use will outlast many other similar tools. It's a tool that should not break down in the middle of fighting a raging wildfire.

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More about this author: Lane Olinghouse

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.maydreamsgardens.com/2010/05/hoedag-review.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.dirtcouture.com/garden-supplies/garden-tools/hoe-dag