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Can the fire boxes be operated within a forest environment?

Yes. It is more desirable and practical to use our air curtain burners for slash or fuels reduction than any other method of disposal. The S-200 Series was specifically designed for use in the deep forest.

S-116 at Forest Lakes, Arizona, Urban Wildland Interface Cleanup Site (Operator Certification: January, 2001)

What experience does Air Burners have with urban-interface slash clean-up and disposal?

Our FireBoxes are used very successfully for that purpose. Several fire boxes were actually funded by the USDA's Western States Urban Wildland Interface Grant Program, such as the S-116 pictured here.

Federal grant money continues to be available for a variety of such programs.

What role do your Air Curtain Burners play in wildfire mitigation efforts in the Western States and elsewhere?

Air Burners Systems are being employed for forest fuels reduction in an effort to mitigate the dangers of wildfires, especially in the urban-wildland interface areas, often replacing expensive chippers and masticators , or working in conjunction with them. Also, using a FireBox is more environmentally friendly.

S-327 at Los Alamos National Labs (July 2002)
Photo by Kevin N. Roark, Public Affairs, LANL

How are Air Burners machines used in post wildfire cleanup operations?

Air Burners Systems were employed for that application, for example, in New Mexico by Alamos National Laboratory. See the July 10, 2002 LANL News Bulletin on the Cerra Grande Wildfire Rehab Project.

The wood waste was removed from the burned forest areas and taken to a collection site. Useful wood was given away to the public as firewood, and the waste was burned in our air curtain burners. Staring in July 2002, an S-327 was operating around the clock, 24 hours a day for several years until the completion of the project. Volume reduction was officially reported at 99% and throughput at 20 tons per hour.

How are Air Curtain Burners used for the disposal of trees killed by beetles or other pests?

Imported pests, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) in Chicago and New York and many other States, the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (Tetropium fuscum) in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada), or the Spruce Bark Beetle in Alaska, California and Canada, for example, and other beetles, such as the Black Turpentine Beetle in Florida and the Ashbore in Michigan and Ohio, pose a serious threat to our trees and other vegetation.

The USDA had stated that there are currently no known treatments to fight the Asian Longhorned Beetle, for example, or certain similar beetles, such as the pine beetle. The only sure way of control it is to remove affected trees and burn the refuse. Have Air Burners systems been employed for such tasks, as they would be the most plausible choice to burn such infested wood?

It is true that the patented Air Burners S-Series air curtain burners (ACB's) are the most suitable devices that could be used to help combat the spread of devastating beetles at the locations of infestation.

An Air Burners S-327 (formerly S-127) system was used for approximately seven months through January 2001 at the Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) location where thousands of Brown Spruce Beetle infested trees have been burned, in order to assure that all healthy trees have been saved from devastation and the spread of the beetle across the Canadian forests halted.

Spruce Trees in Halifax, N.S., Canada Destroyed by Brown Spruce Beetle, (Summer 2000)

The Air Burners system attains very high temperatures that assure complete destruction of all organisms, pathogenic and otherwise, yielding a sterile ash. Study endeavors related thereto were carried out first by Fountainhead Engineering in 2001 in Chicago and by several government entities since, including the UK and Australian Governments.

Reports indicate that the method of converting beetle infested trees, including trees dying from "Sudden Oak Death Syndrome" in California, to fire wood or mulch, or just chopping them up for land filling has had rather devastating results: entire areas of previously healthy trees or vegetation became infested by that obviously undesirable method, counteracting what little apparent economic gain may have been achieved with tremendous additional costs to the tax payer. By the way, it was estimated that the Asian Longhorned Beetle alone, if not swiftly and rigorously contained, may cause damages to the US economy well in excess of $100 billion.

Advantages of use of Air Burners S-Series to help combat beetle infestations:

The Air Burners units' mobility allows quick deployment and re-deployment to troubled sites. Their operation is very cost-effective, and the capital cost relatively quite modest.

Large sections of tree trunks can be introduced in one piece, obviating the need for costly chipping and handling and the related danger of releasing and spreading undesirable organisms.

No gas or electric power is needed, as the units feed for combustion on the very waste that is to be burned.

Operation as close to 100 yards to occupied dwellings is possible with very little smoke menace, and emissions well within applicable EPA limits.

Transportation cost are very low and limited to ash removal, once the unit is in place.

The residual product, the ash, is sterile and may actually be a beneficial byproduct, a soil enhancer for clay-like soils or potting soil. Landfill tipping fees are eliminated. This aspect puts the entire procedure in the category of recycling, yielding a residual product for beneficial re-use.

Go HERE for more details on the burning of beetle infested trees

How much money do I save, if I replace my chipper with one of your air curtain burners?

The economics are quite straight forward. The air curtain burner will reduce the wood waste mass by about 98-99%, the chipper does NOT reduce the mass, it just repackages it to make it more transportable. Ten tons (20,000 lbs) of wood waste in the air curtain burner end up as approximately 400 pounds of ash. Ten tons of wood waste in a chipper end up as ten tons of chips. The purchase price of a chipper is much higher than that of an air curtain burner, and it costs much more to operate a chipper with its usually large Diesel engine and also to upkeep and repair it compared to the cost to maintain an air curtain burner.

Check out this handy comparison, then contact us so we can help you determine which air curtain burner would be best for your operation.

How many acres can I clear with a T-300 in a day?

In the South of the US, you can clear about an acre in a ten-hour day, which corresponds to burning about 800 to 1,200 cubic yards.

How do I burn stumps?

You can throw whole stumps in the firebox or trench, but it is best to split larger stumps. This will provide more surface area and will result in a hotter and faster burn.

Must the fire be totally out at night?

Yes and no, local regulations sometimes, but not always, require that the fire be out at the end of the burn-day. When handling ashes, it must be assured that possible hot embers, etc. in the ashes do not start a fire outside the pit or firebox.
Our optional ember screen for our FireBoxes was designed for use in the deep forest to help prevent embers from escaping after hours, should any hot coals be left in the bottom of the fire box and should weather conditions change unexpectedly. It is placed over the top of the fire box at the end of the work day.

What do I do with the ashes?

Most of the time the ashes are land applied. Occasionally, it may be required that they be manifested out and taken to an approved landfill. This may be the case for sensitive wetland areas where the ashes, if left behind, could alter the soil pH. Wood ash can be useful as an additive to potting soil, or it can improve the condition of loamy soil. As it is alkaline in nature, it is often mixed into landfill ground cover material as a deacidifier.

How long should the cleared brush dry out before it is burned in a trench burner or FireBox?

Fresh cut wood waste can be burned as soon as it is cut. There is no requirement for drying. This also applies to waterborne debris collected from waterways or coastal beaches.

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Can I burn mulch and chips in a FireBox or earthen pit?

No. Ground or chipped wood waste is too dense to burn. It will smolder and the air curtain will not be able to contain the resulting smoke (Particulate matter or PM).

It is important to understand that there is no need to grind or chip the wood waste before combusting it in an air curtain burner. The FireBox is a whole log burner; the waste is loaded without any preprocessing.

Is continuous operation feasible?

Yes, for a period of about 20-22 hours, or until the ash level reaches about 3 feet. It is best to clean out the fire box or pit every morning, however. Florida usually allows around the clock burning, but only in FireBoxes, for hurricane disaster clean-up. The Los Alamos National Laboratory operated our air curtain burners for many months continuously, Mondays through Thursdays, 24 hours a day, as part of its wildfire rehabilitation project after the Cerro Grand Fire in New Mexico.

The US EPA has developed special regulations for the use of air curtain FireBox burners used for cleanup of a declared disaster. Operators can commence with using the air curtain burner immediately without the need to file for any permits.

Can I get a fire box at short notice for disaster recovery work, if I pay a premium? What then would the shortest delivery time be? Do you keep units in factory inventory?

We often have Models S-220, S-119 and T-300 in factory inventory. If not in inventory, we are able to deliver any FireBox and the T-300 trench burner in three to five week's time. Overtime premium may be charged for emergency rush orders.

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We manufacture and refurbish wooden pallets and generate a lot of wood waste. Presently we grind the waste and take it to our local landfill. Tipping fees and fuel cost make this method very expensive and we spend thousands of dollars every month to get rid of the wood waste. There must be a better way. Can you help?

Many pallet manufacturers use our air curtain FireBox systems to eliminate grinding and hauling of wood waste altogether. Check out this handy comparison of chipping or grinding to air curtain burning, then call us, so we may help you select a suitable FireBox model for your operations and start saving money.

Can I burn sawdust?

No. It is too light and will be blown around by the air curtain. Like chips and mulch grindings, saw dust is too dense to support combustion, as proper air circulation cannot be achieved. The material will only smolder and not combusted and the process would also releases excessive smoke.

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Last Updated March 15, 2017 by Air Burners, Inc.