Fire fight­ing liq­uid makes ev­ery drop of water count

Australian Forests and Timber - - FIRE -

ALIQ­UID that greatly im­proves the abil­ity of water to douse a blaze is help­ing fire­fight­ers bat­tle wild fires in North Amer­ica and Europe.

De­vel­oped in South Aus­tralia by BioCen­tral Lab­o­ra­to­ries, BLAZE­TAMER380 has been used this fire sea­son in the air and on the ground in five states in the US while test­ing of the prod­uct has be­gun in Por­tu­gal and France.

BioCen­tral Lab­o­ra­to­ries Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor John Step­an­cic said mix­ing BLAZE­TAMER380 with water binded mol­e­cules to­gether, in­creas­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of air drops by up to 44 per cent.

“What you want to do is hold that body of water to­gether as best as pos­si­ble so that it hits in a uni­form man­ner which gives it the ca­pac­ity to ab­sorb as much en­ergy as pos­si­ble with­out leav­ing be­hind patchy ar­eas that con­tinue to burn,” he said.

“You can get the same job done with just a sin­gle drop and that’s what the pi­lots like about it most, we’re find­ing they’ll use the prod­uct in one state and then when they fly in an­other state the next month they’re ask­ing to use BLAZE­TAMER380 again.”

BLAZE­TAMER380 is also one of the most en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fire fight­ing agents in use, ap­proved by the EPA and Aus­tralia’s Water Qual­ity Cen­tre as the only prod­uct that can be used near water catch­ments and other sen­si­tive ar­eas, pro­vided that man­u­fac­tur­ing in­struc­tions are fol­lowed.

The liq­uid is de­signed to be mixed with water in low quan­ti­ties, rang­ing from 2 litres per 1000 for ground based fire fight­ing to 6.5 litres in 1000 for aerial drops from fixed wing air­craft.

The BLAZE­TAMER380 re­quired to mix a stan­dard 3000 litre would cost about $A400.

“That means we’re about a third of the cost of the most com­monly used fire re­tar­dants, which are about $A1300-$A1500 per 3000-litre load,” Stepanic said.

“It’s also cheaper be­cause air­craft are in the air for less time, be­cause they can elim­i­nate more of the fire with a sin­gle drop.”

Step­an­cic said the ef­fi­ciency of BLAZE­TAMER380 mixed water made the liq­uid more ef­fec­tive at not just con­tain­ing fires, but elim­i­nat­ing them in ini­tial at­tack water drops.

As a re­sult, pi­lots and ground fire­fight­ers were able to more eas­ily con­trol fires be­fore they be­gan to burn out of con­trol, he said.

“The prob­lem is try­ing to man­age a fire doesn’t work all the time - fires are by na­ture very un­pre­dictable and you’ll get wind shift.

“So the whole idea is to stop the fire with those ini­tial at­tack drops rather than it get­ting out of con­trol and then look­ing at how you can man­age it best when there’s prop­erty and lives at stake.”

The 2015 United States fire sea­son was the worst since 1960, with more than 11 mil­lion acres of land burned, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­ter­a­gency Fire Cen­tre. The rise in fire dam­age has been at­trib­uted to a greater num­ber of homes in fire-prone ar­eas and hot­ter, drier sea­sons.

BioCen­tral Lab­o­ra­to­ries hopes to ex­pand us­age of BLAZE­TAMER to more states in the US dur­ing the next fire sea­son.

“The States have been very en­cour­ag­ing at us­ing new tech­nol­ogy and look­ing at how best to adapt it,” Step­an­cic said.

“We’re still go­ing through the process of ed­u­cat­ing fire­fight­ing au­thor­i­ties about BLAZE­TAMER380, but the pi­lots who have ac­tu­ally used our prod­uct have re­ally cham­pi­oned us to dif­fer­ent area com­man­ders.”

■ John Step­an­cic (right) Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor BioCen­tral Lab­o­ra­to­ries Ltd and Steve Giles Op­er­a­tions and Tech­ni­cal Sup­port from G5 BioSo­lu­tions LLC, the cur­rent U.S.A dis­trib­u­tor.

■ FastFiller: The BLAZE­TAMER380 con­cen­tra­tion IBC is con­nected to the FastFiller. The FastFiller mea­sures the re­quired amount of prod­uct de­pen­dent on the water hold­ing ca­pac­ity of the air­craft tank/s. The prod­uct is pushed through the hose to the water pump, which in turn is pushed/sucked di­rectly up into the air­craft tank.

■ This is BioCen­tral’s cus­tom de­signed air­craft filler, The FastFiller (de­signed and man­u­fac­tured by BioCen­tral Lab­o­ra­to­ries Ltd), con­nected to a water pump, which is con­nected to the FIRE BOSS (or other air­craft that re­quires to stop and fill).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.