Fire rakes excavated at Duffy's Cut, Pennsylvania Museum location given.
A fire rake is a wildland fire fighting tool. A fire rake has a wooden or fiberglass handle with a rake head consisting of four very sharp, serrated, triangular steel blades. It is used to rake a fire break with the sharp teeth enabling it to reach fire in undergrowth in addition to loose surface debris. Another type of fire rake which looks more like a steel rake but with sharp edges on the teeth, and is sometimes referred to as a rake hoe is called a McLeod. The teeth of the more traditional fire rake which resemble the teeth of a great white shark allow it to get deeper into the undergrowth when necessary. But the preference for one over the other is somewhat subjective.
A fire fighter will rake burning material back into the area already burned, or 'black', moving the fire from the fuel ahead of it creating a fire break. This allows the fire fighter to stay safely on the 'black', while quickly moving the fire away from further fuel. The burning material is left to burn itself out away from the edge of the fire line, or another fire fighter with a fire flapper will smother it if required. The tool will cut through any undergrowth that may be burning and overturn some soil further assisting in creating a fire break, smothering fire, and lowering the temperature of burning materials below their threshold of ignition.