Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) occur in open canopy pine habitat on well-drained soils in the southeastern U.S., where they construct burrows that offer protection from thermal extremes, fire, and predators. Gopher tortoise populations have declined over the past 50 years, primarily as a result of habitat loss and degradation. Southeastern pine forests require active management with prescribed fire, or mechanical thinning or removal of hardwoods, to maintain suitable habitat for gopher tortoises. In addition, many pine forests in the southeast that support gopher tortoise populations are managed for multiple uses including intensive silviculture. Heavy equipment associated with these activities used in proximity to gopher tortoise burrows can cause them to collapse, potentially causing harm to tortoises or other, potentially more imperiled organisms that use their burrows. Hence, there is a need for practical guidelines for use of heavy equipment for timber harvest, management, and other activities around gopher tortoise burrows to minimize risk to tortoises. We conducted a field study to determine the distance at which heavy equipment caused gopher tortoise burrows to collapse using a feller buncher, rubber tire front-end loader, and an agricultural tractor with a tree mower attachment in grossarenic kandiudult (15 burrows) and typic quartzipsamment (15 burrows) soils at a site in southwestern Georgia. All burrows were confirmed to be unoccupied by tortoises or other vertebrate commensal species using a camera scope. The greatest mean distance to collapse across all vehicles tested in undifferentiated sandy soils and sandy clay loam was 2.19 ± 0.56 m and the maximum distance to collapse was 3 m. Thus, for these soil types and for wheeled equipment that weighs <15,000 kg, we recommend a buffer that extends 4 m in radius from entrance of the gopher tortoise burrow to minimize risk of collapse from heavy equipment.