So why does the OMNRF use pickup trucks in the first place?
Our trip to Thunder Bay yielded most of our primary research- the vehicles used by the rangers were often front-and-centre. Later research into wildland fire fighting services around the world showed a lot of different approaches to transportation, from Unimogs to cargo vans to pickup trucks, all customized to take skids or other supplies. It seems that vehicle choice is very regional- European services may use Unimogs and vans because they are available, while North Americans are restricted to conventional trucks.
A lot of decision seemed to be motivated by costs, and this will be a driving factor in my project. You simply can't ignore the consequences of design changes that increase capital costs or have a lasting impact on operating costs.
Pickup trucks are many things- they are sturdy, dependable and cheap. As far as the needs of the rangers go, they are largely for transportation. They do this job quite well. My project will be focusing on the aspects of the use cycle that leave a lot more room for improvement- mainly loading and unloading.