Since wildfires swept through California last year and left historic destruction in their wake, several contractors and suppliers have stepped up to begin the cleanup and rebuilding process. Bejac Corp., Placentia, California, was one of those suppliers. The company recently detailed its role in wildfire cleanup in a press release, describing how it worked with trusted contractors to deploy Link-Belt machines and help hard-hit areas move forward.
Bajac first assisted with the Carr Fire, which spread from Shasta County through the town of Redding from July 23 to Aug. 30, 2018. Once the fire was contained, Redding Electric Utility called on Dragon Demolition of Chico, California, to begin the cleanup. Bejac says Dragon Demolition reached out for advice on which machines would accomplish the job as quickly and economically as possible.
Kevin Broderick, the territory account manager at Bejac, recommended two Link-Belt excavators for the job: the massive 350 X4 excavator and the nimble 80 X3 Spin Ace. Broderick says he suggested the 350 X4 because it was best for tackling the fallen trees and other debris. “At over 80,000 pounds and with more than 40,000 pounds of breakout force, the 350 X4 is a beast best suited for the grunt work,” Broderick says. “It’s there for the really heavy loading and lifting or pulling large trees up or down the slopes.”
For the more precise task of clearing and cutting the cables and wires, Broderick suggested the smaller, 18,900-pound 80 X3 Spin Ace coupled with a Genesis rotating Versi Pro 7 shear. “In order to cut the thin 1-inch cable, it was all that was needed for that particular job. Anything bigger would have been excessive and not cost-effective,” adds Broderick.
Despite one minor hiccup — a shear blade broke but was promptly fixed by Bejac’s immediate on-site service — 66 miles worth of cable was prepped for recycling in a matter of weeks, clearing the way for rebuilding to begin.
Then, the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire ever, broke out in Paradise two months later. Again, Bejac says it was asked to assist, this time coordinating with a local contractor to dispatch another 350 X4, as well as Link-Belt’s 245 X4 Spin Ace, to clear debris on State Route 70 into the Camp Fire. “The 245 X4 is a compact unit with lots of power for lifting heavy objects and breakout force of 34,600 pounds, but still a small footprint and no tail swing to interfere with traffic or take up precious road space,” which is especially important when dealing with massive amounts of evacuees returning to survey damage, Broderick says.
In both cleanup scenarios, Broderick drew on his years of experience and understanding of the machines to recommend the right equipment for each job. “All the machines selected for the fire clean up were chosen because they were the best tool for the specific application. Bejac has an extremely diverse product line of equipment and attachments, which is why so many specialty contractors depend on us for our knowledge,” Broderick says.