Things that go "Whoosh"

Victorian Fire Ignition Equipment for Forest Use

Unless otherwise indicated the photos on this page and the descriptions have come from Barry Marsden.

Forest fire management in Victoria has relied heavily on the ability to ignite fires quickly and easily for a range of reasons.

  • Backburning, and burning out of unburnt areas inside fire control lines
  • Regeneration burning in native forests after harvesting
  • Fuel reduction burning in native forests
  • Historically, clearing of native forest areas for softwood plantation establishment
  • Historically, removal of pine slash after rotation age felling

This article is about the equipment used to achieve ground ignition. See also: Aerial Ignition.


Hand held Blowtorch Flame Gun - 1950s

Provides a concentrated heat source (1000 deg C) for the removal of ground fuels and/or Stump and windrow ignition.


Sheen Handheld Blowtorch Flame Gun - 1970s

Provides a concentrated heat source (1090 deg C) for the removal of ground fuels and/or stump and windrow ignition.


Rega Backpack Flame thrower - 1960s

Vessel capacity 13.6 litres. For back burning operations where more fire is required to ignite ground fuels.


Versions of Handheld Ignition Tools - 1950’s

Ignition is provided by fire dripping from a burning wick attached to outlet wand onto ground litter. Allows fire crews to ignite a slow burning controlled backburn.

gof rifle.jpg

Gof (Gun Operated Flamer) Rifle. 1960s-1970s

The first device developed to allow ignition at a distance inside the control line.



Traditional Drip Torch

Being used here for fuel reduction burning. (Source: W Worrell)


A Self Propelled Incendiary Flare (SPIF)

... consists of a cardboard tube containing six flares projected by a fireworks action, for the ignition of forest fuels in areas not readily accessible on foot. Discharge distance 75 to 100 metres.



SPIF in use 2011


SPIF Storage


Handheld Incendiary Capsule Launcher - 1989

With a discharge distance of 75 to 100 metres the launcher is used to safely construct a backburn from a control line. Video (Abt 1989)


Vehicle Mounted Flame Thrower - 2010

(160 L Gel fuel tank capacity) - Used in backburning operations where a long fire edge can be achieved in short time. A gel fuel flame is much better in adhering to both ground and vertical fuels and provides a greater heat source.