Australia’s first Case 850L dozer combats NSW bushfires

Case said today that while the bushfire season in NSW typically begins in October and continues until February, keeping the trails maintained is a year round job. Owen Mowle, from the Parks and Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment and Climate Change, said the 850L would be put through its paces at national parks from Kempsey in the north of NSW down to Newcastle and west to Scone.“We work our dozers pretty hard, maintaining the fire trails and working on drainage to help stop soil erosion,” Mowle said. “We aim to do about a thousand hours on our dozers each year and we keep them for anything up to 12 or 14 years. “The 850L is currently at Gloucester but will be working across a range of parks with highly variable terrain. A lot of it is steep and hard going, from the coast all the way to the Great Dividing Range.” Case said the power of the machine was by no means the only priority when the department chose the 850L. Mowle said that as well as having adequate power the machine also needed to be the right size, both for accessibility and transportability. “We were looking for a machine under 10.5 tonne so we could transport it in a bogie tip truck rather than having to use a low loader,” he said.The 850L was delivered in December 2008 by the Coffs Harbour branch of Case dealer Conplant. A five-hour training and induction program was run for 25 operators to ensure they were all familiar with the new dozer. Mowle said the department does not allocate specific operators to a machine, so they all attend training for each new piece of equipment. The 850L generates 72kW of net engine power and boasts a blade capacity of up to 2.09 cubic metres. The Department of Environment and Climate Change’s new 850L replaces a Case 850E dozer.

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