Basic Forest Fire Suppression Course - Online Lessons


4.2 Pulaski

The pulaski is a combination cutting and grubbing tool. It is designed to provide a cutting edge similar to an axe and an edge for grubbing. It is best used in an indirect attack, primarily for loosening heavy duff layers for removal by a shovel. The pulaski should only be used in place of an axe on a limited basis.

The pulaski is an effective tool for mop up operations. It is used to expose embers from deep burning smudges to be extinguished with water from a backpack or power pump. The exposed embers can be extinguished by mixing them with mineral soil using a shovel.

Before using a pulaski ensure the handle is smooth, free of cracks and splinters and securely fastened to the head. Both the cutting and grubbing edges must be kept sharp and, when not in use, protected with duct tape. The pulaski can be secured for field sharpening by embedding the axe blade into a stump to file the grubbing edge. To file the axe blade, the grubbing edge is embedded.

The pulaski is carried horizontally, at the side of the body, with the handle gripped directly behind the head. The axe blade must face downward and the pulaski is held slightly away from the body. In the event of a fall, the crew member can push the pulaski away from the body.

Crew members using pulaski must space themselves apart a minimum distance of three metres in light brush to double a tree length if trees are being felled. The crew member must have a clear swing path. The slightest obstruction to the swing path can cause the pulaski to deflect from its intended path.

A pulaski left along the fireline should be embedded in a stump or tree for safety and ease in locating.