GROUND OR AERIAL RESOURCES
For most agencies up to 90+% of wildland fires are fought with ground resources. This number varies by agency and by season, due to weather and fire conditions. Aerial resources are used for tactical operations on the remaining 10% of fires, due to values threatened, access, fire intensity or firefighter safety.
DIRECT OR INDIRECT STRATEGIES
Up to 90+% of the time the preferred and safest strategy when aircraft are used for initial attack is direct attack. Most times an anchor is established so firefighters have a safe zone in the adjacent blackline as they work on the flanks and eventually turn the corner on the headfire. Sometimes aircraft take action directly on the head or a “hot flank” to save property or to keep the fire from reaching priority areas. When direct attack is not an option due to fuels, access, terrain, firefighter safety or resources, indirect attack using retardant may be the best option.
COLOR VS. NON-COLOR
The primary purpose of adding a colorant to aerial fire suppressants or retardant is to allow aerial firefighters, Air Attack Officers and pilots, to locate previous drops so they can remain oriented, tag on or roll up to them while building an indirect or parallel line. When using a suppressant for direct attack colorants are not necessary since, unless other priorities dictate, drops are made sequentially on a fire. After an anchor is established the subsequent drops begin where the heat and smoke begins. This is normally evident from an aerial view and can be enhanced using infrared cameras in suppression aircraft.
Colorant adds cost to the per gallon price of the suppressant. Some agencies are successfully adding a blue colorant to BLAZETAMER380™.
One SEAT pilot was adamant that colorant be used but, after returning from his first fire stated that :
“We don’t need colorant, where my previous drop was it is black and shiny and my next drop goes where the smoke starts”.
SEAT with colored retardant
FireBoss with BLAZETAMER380™
EQUIPMENT OPTIONS FOR USING BLAZETAMER380™
SEATS - BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate can be:
• Injected into the supply line via a FF-PIU or FF-35, provided by G5 BioSolutions LLC, as SEATs are loaded on the ramp at a SEAT Base
• Injected into the aircraft tank with one of the following options, then loaded with water from a SEAT Base or other airport/airstrip that has a water source (fire department or hydrant). The action within the tank as it is filled with water provides adequate agitation for mixing.
• An approved on-board injection system that has a 48-gallon reservoir
• From concentrate in the 18-gallon “foam” hopper, if approved (AirTractor), that will provide enough concentrate for 3-6 loads, depending on mix ratio
• Loaded directly into the aircraft tank at a rate of 2-5 gallons per load, depending on tank size and desired mix ratio
FF-PIU (Portable Injection Unit)
FireBoss dropping BLAZETAMER380™
FireBoss - BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate can be injected with an approved on-board injection system that has a 48-gallon capacity and can provide enough concentrate for 16-20+ loads, depending on the mix ratio and payload.
Multi-Engine Airtankers - BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate can be injected into supply lines at a Tanker Base with the use of an FF-35. Test drops from the DC-10 prove that BLAZETAMER380™ performs well from multi-engine air tankers.
CL-215 / CL-415 – Work continues to obtain approval for use of BLAZETAMER380™ in the CL-215/CL-415 fleet. Test drops in Canada have proven that BLAZETAMER380™ will be a viable alternative to foam in these aircraft.
FF-35 loading a
HELICOPTERS – Fixed Tank On-Board Injection Systems – BLAZETAMER380™ is approved for use in both Simplex and Isolair systems. Concentrate reservoirs are sized to provide a fuel cycle of 20 loads at a mix rate of 0.2% - 0.32%. BLAZETAMER380™ was used in both Type I and Type II helicopters on fires in the Northern Rockies in the summer of 2017 with great results.
BLAZETAMER380™ turns a Type II Helicopter into a Type I Helicopter!
320 Gallons of water
= Heavy Helicopter
660 Gallons of water
HELICOPTERS – On-Board Injection Systems for Buckets - BLAZETAMER380™ is approved for use in the SEI Sacksafoam system for Bambi Buckets. Testing is underway to determine the best way to provide adequate agitation after the bucket is filled with water and before it is delivered to the fire.
HELICOPTERS – Dip Tank Operations - BLAZETAMER380™ can be pre-mixed and available in dip tanks for helicopters that are configured with either a fixed tank or buckets. Dip tanks, pumps, equipment and operators can either be supplied by the agency or can be obtained through G5 BioSolutions, LLC. Flight time can be reduced since the dip tank, pump, hose and fittings, BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate and an operator can be flown into a road less area that has available water and an open meadow rather than requiring an area near a road.
Chinook with on-board injection with BLAZETAMER380™
Chinook dipping BLAZETAMER380™
ENGINES / BRUSH RIGS – Special equipment is not needed for using BLAZETAMER380™ in a fire suppression rig, engine or all-terrain unit. Simply pour the desired amount of BLAZETAMER380™ into the tank, add water and recirculate through the pump for a few minutes. If agency policy allows, a mix ratio of 0.1% - 0.2% is effective when applying BLAZETAMER380™ from ground equipment. Quart or gallon containers can be filled from 5-gallon containers so they can be distributed and stored throughout your fleet.
See the User Guide for additional information on the mixing process.
TRANSFERRING BLAZETAMER380™ CONCENTRATE TO AIRCRAFT
Mobile SEAT Base – A FastFiller Portable Injection Unit (FF-PIU) is used to inject product into aircraft supply lines. It is very mobile and can be transferred throughout the state or region in a pickup or small aircraft, along with a few 5-gallon containers of BLAZETAMER380™ and one operator, to set up a portable or remote SEAT Base.This unit can also be used to transfer BLAZETAMER380™ into helicopters or SEAT hoppers.
Primary SEAT or Tanker Base – Two different FastFiller models are available. They both have a high-pressure/low-volume pump powered by a gasoline engine. These units pump BLAZETAMER380™concentrate directly into the supply line as a SEATs and/or airtankers are loaded with water.
FastFiller-7 (FF-7) - Can be located at your primary SEAT Base, along with one or more totes (264 gallons each) or several 5-gallon containers of BLAZETAMER380™. The FF-7 has a 7-gallon concentrate tank and is very portable with handles for two persons to set it up, similar to a portable water pump. Concentrate can be loaded into the hopper via suction or by simply pouring it into the top of the hopper.
FastFiller-35 (FF-35) - Can be located at a primary SEAT or Tanker Base along with totes (264-gallons each)
of BLAZETAMER380™. The FF-35 has a 35-gallon hopper and has wheels and a handle for moving it on the ramp.
These units inject into aircraft supply lines as the aircraft is filled from a hydrant or pump/tank water source.
Aircraft with On-Board Injection Systems - SEATs, FireBoss or Helicopters – Two equipment models are available to easily transfer BLAZETAMER380™ from a tote to the aircraft while it is on the ramp or at a helibase, or BLAZETAMER380™concentrate can simply be poured into reservoirs.
FastCart-52 (FC-52) - has a 52-gallon tank and is designed to load BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate into FireBoss’ with on-board injection systems. This unit is on wheels and has a handle for moving it on the ramp.
FastCart-200 (FC-200) - has a 200-gallon tank and is designed to load BLAZETAMER380™ concentrate into Type I Helicopters with on-board injection systems. This unit is a self-contained trailer with a low-pressure/low volume pumping system that is capable of pumping 140 gallons of concentrate in 8 minutes. This unit comes
with a ball-hitch so it can be moved with an ATV or with the two-wheeled motorized trailer dolly.
BLAZETAMER380™ vs. RETARDANT
Retardant is most effective when using indirect methods of firefighting. Chemical concentrates are mixed with water at a rate of 85% water and 15% chemical agents. After the water evaporates the residual chemicals alter fuels, making them fire resistant since they will not support combustion, retarding a fire’s spread. Retardant is inefficient as a direct attack tool since 15% of the volume does not improve suppressant capabilities when applied directly to fires. Retardant weighs about 9.1 pounds per gallon when mixed, effectively decreasing the volume that can be aerially delivered per load.
Until now, when firefighters needed more than water on their fires for direct attack, their primary option was retardant. Retardant is inefficient when used for direct attack.
The following scenario focuses on aircraft load capacity when comparing use of retardant and BLAZETAMER380™ as a direct attack tool. It does not consider the evaporative loss, wind shear nor endothermic benefits of BLAZETAMER380™. If the payload of a SEAT is 800 gallons of BLAZETAMER380™, or 6,640 pounds, it may only be able to carry 730 gallons of retardant. This 10% reduction of volume is offset when using retardant as a tool for indirect attack, but is not an efficient use of aircraft when direct attack strategies are employed.
Retardant increases the weight of water from 8.3 lbs./gal. to about 9.1 lbs./gal. and only 85% of retardant (water) is effective when used for direct attack, 15% is the desired chemicals and coloring agent used for indirect attack:
Given the same density altitude and fuel load for direct attack missions:
Summary - You get 25% more suppressant per drop with BLAZETAMER380™
Given the same density altitude and fuel load for direct attack missions a Type I helicopter with an on-board injection system can pick water from a nearby water source rather than returning to a base or portable retardant plant:
BLAZETAMER380™ vs. FOAM
Class A Foam is a surfactant used to reduce film thickness and penetrate fuels by reducing the surface tension of water. If applied at high concentrations it can create a foam blanket that surrounds fuels, creating a barrier between the fuel and the fire. It is used in a decreasing amount in aerial operations due to concerns of corrosiveness and since other, more desirable products are now available.
Comparison with Foam and BLAZETAMER380™ in a FireBoss with 750-gallons
*Drop Characteristics, Canopy Penetration, Endotheric Properties, Coverage Levels
Example - Fire requiring 20,000 gallons of Suppressant @ 0.1 flight hours/load ($4,500/hour)
Result - Save over $8,000 per fire by reducing flight time by more than half.
BLAZETAMER380™ doubles the production of a FireBoss
1600 Gallons of water
$7,000/hr (US contract rate)
Comparison with Foam and BLAZETAMER380™ in a CL-415 with 1,600-gallons
Fire that requires 20,000 gallos of Suppressant @ 0.1 flight hours/load ($3,700/hour)
Result – Save over $1,000 per fire & reduce flight time by more than half!
BLAZETAMER380™ vs. GEL
Gels do not bind water molecules together. They may be liquid concentrates or powders that, when added to water, absorb water molecules to increase molecule size to increase film thickness and slow water evaporation. Not all water molecules in a load are absorbed, thus some are available to penetrate a canopy but are also prone to evaporative loss. A uncontrollable variable is water quality, both salinity and pH. Water quality dramatically impacts the ability of the super absorbent gel cells to absorb water so the only solution is to add more product. More Gel equates to more weight and cost to the customer.
Gels contain a crystalline product called Polyacrylic Polymers. This same product is found in diapers. Gels absorb heat energy and create a thermal protective coating on fuels and are especially effective on vertical fuels since they adhere to them. Some tests show that loads of these larger molecules are less dense and are more prone to drift.
BLAZETAMER380™ links all water molecules in a load together, is less prone to drift and it is not affected by water quality or salinity so mix ratios remain constant, whatever the water source.
Airtankers can effectively alternate loads of retardant and BLAZETAMER380™ without requiring the tank to be rinsed
since the salt contained in any residual retardant does not affect the performance of BLAZETAMER380™.
BLAZETAMER380™ is less expensive per mixed gallon than any other water enhancer listed on the USFS QPL.
The value of using BLAZETAMER380™ cannot be computed by simply factoring the product cost since additional factors include:
• Amount of Suppressant that does not reach the ground due to evaporative loss
- up to 35% of water treated with foam does not reach the ground or intended target.
• Drop Characteristics; length, width & density, less drift
- line production per drop is increased significantly with BLAZETAMER380™ due to dense, narrow pattern vs. water or gel.
• Endothermic Properties that affect fire suppression
- does not require multiple drops in same area.
• Cost Savings through Improved Line Production at coverage level 4
- Flight rates range from $2,500-$9,000 per hour
- Aircraft with on-board injection systems are not required to ferry to tanker base or roadside helIbase so costs per gallon delivered are reduced dramatically while production is increased.
• Better support for ground firefighters
- Less time spent ferrying to/from a tanker base or roadside helibase allows more time per fuel cycle for delivering BLAZETAMER380™ to ground firefighters.
BLAZETAMER380™ is less expensive per mixed gallon than any other water enhancer listed on the USFS QPL.
Reduction of fire suppression costs is a goal of all land management agencies, use of BLAZETAMER380™ will help contain costs.
• FACTORS FROM REDUCTION OF FLIGHT TIME INCLUDE:
- Less pilot fatigue
- Less wear and tear on the aircrafts mechanical components
- Decreases risk to pilots working in a low level, smoky environment that often includes multiple aircraft in a congested airspace.
Firefighters must always wear proper PPE and use care when working on fires, especially on portions of the line where fire suppressants or retardant has been applied to avoid slips, trips and falls.
Wild land Firefighting is Hazardous. The wildland fire environment exposes firefighters to many hazards, such as; extreme heat, flames, snags, unsure footing, uneven ground and other factors within the wildland urban interface, to include; powerlines, smoke across roads, vehicle traffic and fuel sources such as propane. The goal for fire managers is to identify hazards and mitigate them as best they can to provide the safest environment for firefighters, both on the ground and in the air.
LINE PRODUCTION per drop is increased significantly with BLAZETAMER380™.
FEWER ACRES BURNED = LESS EXPOSURE to firefighters from environmental hazards.
REDUCED FLIGHT TIME = pilots have less exposure in a smoky, low-level and sometimes congested airspace.
LESS STRESS on the aircraft sub-frame due to the reduction in load requirements
Improved Aviation Safety - a reduction in flight time decreases risk to pilots working in a low level, smoky environment that often includes multiple aircraft in a congested airspace.
Advantages of using BLAZETAMER380™ include:
quicker extinguishment of fires that results in less acres burned
fewer chains or miles of fireline that need to be constructed or controlled
decreased threat to lives, property and resources
fewer hours of flight time required with suppression aircraft that keeps pilots safer
HAZARDS X EXPOSURE = PROBABILITY
PROBABILITY x EXPOSURE = RISK
Risk to firefighters is reduced by decreasing probability and limiting exposure.
One disadvantage of using retardant, foam or water enhancers could be the added hazard they may cause by increasing slipperiness of rocks or ground fuels. A mitigation is to brief firefighters.