The “Construction Section” is an intricate part of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. From the time when two TD-14 cable operated International Harvester bulldozers were placed in service back in 1940, the Construction Section has been an important part of the department. Originally, “dozer operators” served dual roles, as fire truck operators or as fire dozer operators, depending on the assignment. The primary mission of the section is essentially unchanged as a wildland fire suppression resource for fire-line construction using heavy equipment. The personnel assigned to the section are responsible for the three dozers, transports, and a “swamper”.
It consists of five personnel, four Fire Equipment Operators and one “Swamper” ( Fire Equipment Operator /Assistant). The main function of the section is to fight vegetation fires with heavy equipment (such as bulldozers). One dozer can do the work of about 60 hand crew members in building a fire line.
The Construction Section serves many other important functions for the Department as well such as; maintaining fire access roads, preparation for prescribed burns, hazard reduction projects, metal fabrication, chainsaw maintenance and repair, vehicle maintenance and repair, and many other special projects. This section may also be called upon to assist during other emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, structure fires, urban search and rescue and more.