Every season wildland fire crews across the U.S. spend countless hours performing the suppression technique known as “cold trailing”. Cold trailing is making sure a fire is dead out by carefully feeling its perimeter with the hand to detect any remaining burning material. The objective of this task is to locate and eliminate hot spots that could potentially rekindle an otherwise contained fire.
Since the beginning of suppressing wildland fires in the late 1800s, suppression technologies have evolved significantly: infrared mapping, GPS, radios, and aircraft. But even with such technology available firefighters are still cold trailing the traditional way -bending over and sticking a bare hand into potentially hot ashes. CTS believes that with the application of the right technology traditional cold trailing is no longer necessary, and the company has created a modern tool designed specifically for the task.


The ColdTrailer is a conduction-based heat sensing probe that allows firefighters to cold trail while remaining upright. Unlike infrared devices that sense the surface temperature of the ash, the ColdTrailer reaches deep into the ash and finds the heat where it is. Designed by experienced firefighters and tested and validated by interagency hotshot crews, the ColdTrailer is the only alternative to conventional bare-handed cold trailing.


The firefighter simply inserts the probe into suspect locations or sweeps the probe tip through an ash bed to find the hotspots. The ColdTrailer immediately alerts the user with a combination of visual, audible, and vibration alarms.


  • Light weight collapsible pole fits comfortably in your fire pack
  • Patented fast acting and highly sensitive probe with machined aluminum mount
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Pole sections lock together with a durable Kevlar cord
  • Rechargeable lithium battery lasts entire fire season
  • Long handle for better leverage when sweeping for heats

Comparison With Other Methods

Conventional Cold Trailing

    • Bend over or crawl to feel ash
    • Risks occasional burns to fingers
    • High physical demand
    • Head is down, decreasing Situational Awareness
    • More exposure time in hazardous environments
    • May not check suspect area because of fatigue
    • Limited reach


    • Remain upright while cold trailing
    • No risk of burns
    • Minimal physical demand
    • No bending allows for better Situational Awareness
    • Decreases exposure time in hazardous environments
    • Checks more suspect areas because of little physical demand
    • Extended reach allows access deep into root holes and brush

Infrared Heat Sensing Methods

    • Senses surface temperatures
    • Requires training to use correctly
    • Senses radiated heat and only sees what’s in its field of view
    • Finds the heats that make their way to the surface through the insulating ash


  • Senses heat below surface
  • Intuitive because “extension of hand”
  • Finds heats deep in root hole or ash
  • Senses heat through conduction, as do bare hands


Each ColdTrailer is backed with an unconditional 3 year warranty. If your ColdTrailer fails for any reason, please return it to CTS and we will repair or replace it free of charge, including shipping. Please contact CTS to make arrangements for a return prior shipping item back to factory.

100% satisfaction guaranteed