Wildland firefighting agencies use engine crews as a primary, first-on-scene, firefighting resource on public lands across the United States. Engine crews are cohesive teams of employees that uphold a tradition of excellence and have solid reputations as multi-skilled professional firefighters.  

Engine crews are widely used to fight wildfires across the country. They also assist with prescribed burns, patrol for both human and lightning-caused fires, work with the public to promote fire prevention, and perform other activities that improve the health of public lands. 

Wildland fire engines vary in the number of people they can carry and the amount of water they can hold. Smaller engines are about the size of a pickup truck and can carry up to 300 gallons of water. They are staffed by two to five firefighters. These engines operate well in mountainous terrain, can maneuver in tight spaces, and are typically used in forested ecosystems where nearby water sources can be used to fill up their small tanks.

Heavy engines are large vehicles that can carry 750-850 gallons of water. Heavy engines are located in isolated areas, to help respond to wildfires quickly. They require at least three wildland fire crewmembers to operate the engine during fire suppression efforts.

Super Heavy engines are very large, rugged vehicles with extreme off-road capabilities and a tank that can carry up to 2,000 gallons of water. Often accompanied by water tenders, Super Heavy engines are located in remote areas, allowing fast response times in the most rugged areas of high fire activity. Just one Super Heavy wildland fire engine crew is capable of suppressing more than five miles of rangeland fireline in one work shift.