Effective wildfire response

Published:  07 September, 2016

A newly launched firefighting agent that greatly improves the capability of water to douse a blaze is helping firefighters battle wild fires in North America and Europe, reports Thomas Luke.

Developed in South Australia by Biocentral LaboratoriesBlazetamer380 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 Blazetamer with water-binding molecules together, increasing the effectiveness of air drops by up to 44%.

‘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 Blazetamer again.’

Blazetamer 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 firefighting to 6.5 litres in 1000 for aerial drops from fixed wing aircraft.

The Blazetamer required to mix a standard 3000 litres would cost about US$305 (AUD $400).

‘That means we’re about a third of the cost of the most commonly used fire retardants, which are about $1300-$1500 (AUD) per 3000-litre load,’  Stepanic explained.

‘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 BlazeTamer mixed water makes 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.

‘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 Blazetamer, but the pilots who have actually used our product have really championed us to different area commanders.’

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.