Ford and Filson outfit a Bronco to fight wildfires

Concept traces its roots to early U.S. Forest Service vehicles

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Ford Bronco
Ford and Filson have outfitted a 2021 Bronco as a wildfire-fighting machine | Ford photos

Among the post-war uses for war-surplus utility vehicles were ranching (see Roy Rogers and Nellybelle), forestry services, expanding power lines into remote areas, and fighting wilderness fires. All of which brings us to the debut of the Bronco + Filson Wildland Fire Rig concept vehicle unveiled by Ford. 

According to Ford, the concept “combines firefighting equipment with rugged materials crafted by Filson and pays tribute to decades of first responders who trusted Bronco SUVs, while serving as an inspiration for 4×4 fire and rescue vehicles.” 

Ford Bronco to fight wildfires

Ford and its Bronco Wild Fund will donate a pair of such vehicles for the use of wildland fire personnel, the automaker said.

“Ford and Filson share a unique history of helping protect our nation’s wildfire crews for more than a century and helping them access rugged areas of forests,” said Dave Rivers, Bronco marketing manager. “Today, we’re combining those strengths to support those who protect our natural resources as well as helping preserve our nation’s forests for future generations.”

Ford and Filson also said they will raise funds in support of the National Forest Foundation’s reforestation programs and to promote fire prevention awareness through limited-edition Bronco + Filson outdoor gear at Filson.com.

Ford Bronco to fight wildfires

“The collaboration news comes during one of the most devastating U.S. fire seasons in history, with more than 7.5 million acres already ravaged,” Ford said. “The Ford and Filson efforts honor the work of wildland firefighters – from federal, state, local and private teams.

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The firefighting concept vehicle is based on the 4-door Bronco Badlands with Sasquatch package. The paint color is similar to that worn by early U.S. Forest Service vehicles. Equipment includes a full fire skid with water tank and various Filson fabrics and accessories. The vehicle also has a Warn winch, overhead roof rack and firefighting equipment, including Kimtek Firelite Fire/Rescue Transport skid, Hannay Reels fire hose reel, Davey high-pressure water pump and 50-gallon water tank, Stihl chainsaw, hard hats, a high lift jack and Sure Seal drip torch.

The interior features Filson green duck canvas and black leather quilting as well as a CB radio.

“The Filson and Bronco collaboration was a natural fit, given the deep histories both brands have with the U.S. Forest Service dating back to the midcentury, when crews relied on the Filson Cruiser jackets and first-generation Broncos to reach remote terrain and protect them in harsh conditions,” said Doug Thielen, Filson director of marketing.

Ford Bronco to fight wildfires
New concept poses with vintage Bronco in U.S. Forest Service colors

The unveiling of the concept vehicle follows within days of Ford’s establishment of the Bronco Wild Fund that will donate money from Bronco sales to reforestation, trail management, outdoor adventure and scholarship programs and provide support for the National Forest Foundation.

For more information, visit the Bronco Wild Fund website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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