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Wednesday
Jan012014

Foam 112 - Wild Fire Foam

The most common use of wildfire foams is to stop the progression of fire, or for the exposure protection of unburned vegetation or properties in the path of the fire progressed by the prevailing winds and conditions. The performance of these foams depends on the ability of the finished Foam to hold its “bubble structure integrity”. This function allows the finished foam to maintain its moisture content thus resisting the affects of heat.

Since AFFF’s and class "A" wetting agents have a quick “drain time” they exhibit limited use for long term protection of these properties against wildfires. When used in this manner, they must be applied in front of the fire as a barrier against the fast moving nature of wildfires. However, this must be done on a timed basis as they must still retain their moisture content to provide protection “when” the fire reaches their location. This act, involves a time sensitive application ratio to where the fire is, and how long will it be before it reaches the location under protection.

"National Foam" and "Chemonics" created a product that is useful as a long term fire barrier. It is manufactured from a natural, environmentally friendly; protein based foamer, and has been effective for the protection of structures and foliage. This product was originally developed as a daily cover for landfill operations as an alternative to dirt. Application was used on a daily basis at the end of each work day’s operations. This product has a number of advantages in its properties;

1] Natural Protein base

2] 12 to 96 hour durability

3] Adherence to vertical surfaces

4] Excellent wetting agent qualities

5] Increases the moisture content of class “A” fuels

6] Environmentally friendly

Wildfire Foam can be used through common proportioning devices and appliances and others that are more commonly seen within the wildfire firefighting industry. In addition to in-line proportioners and around-the-pump proportioners, this foam is frequently used with Batch mixing, Bladder tank, and direct injection proportioners. Be sure to check with your manufacturers proportioning technique as minor modifications have been needed depending on the deployment device in question. Many manufacturers have already compensated for these adjustments, but double check for safe and functional operations.

One side issue to mention is intent. When these foams achieve the 96 hour life span, they accomplish this through the use of a CAFS (Compressed Air Foam System). This system is the original design for this application. Using a CAFS system for other types of Foam application should be contemplated with extreme caution! Changing the application of a device designed for systems other than intended is dangerous and possibly “life-threatening” business. This esoteric discussion is quite another matter, too involved, and not relevant to this featured article. However, if you have opinions regarding this philosophy, feel free to contact me for discussion at contactus@hazmatmike.com

                              Haz Mat Mike  

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