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How do we prevent/ treat wild fires effectively?

Image credit: Photo by Deep Rajwar from Pexels

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Sep 18, 2020
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Can we come up with novel use of technology to prevent and extinguish wildfires?

Wildfires started by nature are difficult to prevent. What policies might lead to the prevention or early containment of wildfires? What are some less obvious ways to contain, control, and extinguish wildfires efficiently?
16
Creative contributions

Co2 fire extinguishing bombs attached to trees at strategic positions

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 18, 2020
These fire extinguishing balls have become quite popular over the years. It's basically a ball of styrofoam, filled with Co2 powder, and surrounded by fuse wires. In contact with fire, the fuse ignites and detonates the small amount of explosive in the center of the ball. This blows the CO2 powder all over the place, covering the surrounding radius of 2-3 meters (14 - 20 bananas), and puts out all the fire. Such CO2 explosive canisters could be attached to trees at strategic positions. A drone could survey an area and an AI could determine where the optimal spots to place the devices are. Here is a video of these balls in action

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Just a thought - would animals movements, behavior burst them?
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J. Nikola
J. Nikolaa year ago
Since these fire extinguishing bombs work great in enclosed smaller spaces, they would be an ideal way of extinguishing wildfires covered with fire-extinguishing blankets/covers. We could save tons of water with these reusable covers and extinguishing bombs. Maybe a better way of massive producing the bombs and there we go!
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia2 years ago
A limitation of this would be the range of extinguishing of this. You either have one of these every 2-3 meters of forest, which is completely unfeasible, or you couldget them activated when the fire is already to big to extinguish with one of those.

Additionally, leaving those on trees one has to consider the wildlife, which could destroy or eat them, so potentially a repelent coating could be applied, but I don't know how that could impair their function.
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Grid of drones to identify fires at the second they start

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Robert Petrušić
Robert Petrušić Oct 12, 2020

Next, making water tank stations with RC air tractors every 40 kilometers.

That's it.

I was solo brainstorming this for Australia.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikolaa year ago
What if we combined this technology with satellites and create a system where drone fleets carrying CO2 or other fire extinguishing material are navigated by satellites to the areas that have the highest risk of wildfires. That way the number of necessary drones would be drastically reduced and they would mostly be where they should be. Does it make sense?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Many other fire-prone places also desperately need this, including the coastal areas of your country.
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Robert Petrušić
Robert Petrušić3 years ago
Our leaders dont onvest any money in fire prevention. They just fight fires. This is a real solution and its not even that expensive. Also semi automatic.
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Making artificial rain clouds

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 13, 2020
I found two different ways in which this can be done:
1. Some tests that NASA conducts release large amounts of oxygen and hydrogen in the air. They form clouds and precipitate after some time. 2. Cloud seeding: A seeding agent (dry ice, sodium chloride, silver iodide) is released by airplanes upon clouds. This helps the formation of condensation nuclei (water molecules come together). As these condensation nuclei absorb more water molecules, they become heavier and precipitate.

[1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFqfCDEp6iw

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Are they releasing oxygen and hydrogen or is it water vapor from a water tower (or river in the case of your video)? During rocket launches, they rapidly release huge amounts of water to dampen audio vibrations which are otherwise too strong and would cause damage to the rocket and the surroundings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuFn8sPFdTs
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
The video gave me another idea:) Imagine a rocket-powered fire extinguisher the magnitude as depicted in your reference video. That would be something:) Attached to a river you could put out a wide area of fire. The range of water vapor could be extended by such fans mounted on trucks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9W3dJX9ZjM
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
The guy in the video said hydrogen and oxygen. However, the rocket uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. When they are exposed, they react explosively forming water and giving out energy. The energy (heat) converts the water into steam. (Reference: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/hydrogen/hydrogen_fuel_of_choice.html)
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AI powered identification of potential problem areas and preventative clearance

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 18, 2020
A surveillance drone could map out a problematic area on a regular basis. An AI would then point out potential problem areas. Crews would clear them out and put preventative measures in place
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Dig wells, connected to localized sprinker systems, powered by solar panels

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 18, 2020
In beforehand identified problematic areas, dig water wells, surround the area with a battery-powered sprinker system. The battery would be filled by a small photovoltaic array or even a single panel. If wells are not possible, put rainwater collecting cisterns into place and keep them in check. At strategic times preemptively drench the problematic areas. Then refill the cisterns.
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Rocket powered, large area fire extinguisher

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 13, 2020
Imagine attaching a rocket-powered fire extinguisher directly to a river or strong enough creek. To extend the range of water vapor, huge fans mounted on trucks could be parked at strategic locations.

Such rocket-engine powered fire extinguishers could be scaled down to fit on a truck. As long as they are parked next to a strong enough body of water they could saturate the area in water vapor (fog) until everything was soaking wet.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
It turns out something like this was already created:) Hungarian engineers mounted two MiG-21 Jet engines on a Soviet tank to put out oil well fires in 1992. https://youtu.be/-DTrWd2Q9cU
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
You mean to convert the water into vapor, making it lighter and then blowing it over the are under fire?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Yes, essentially saturating a wide area in fog and doing it for long enough for everything to get soaking wet
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Design and construction policies to reduce the chances of a wildfire spreading

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 24, 2021
The buildings in areas that are prone to wildfires can be spaces so that it is almost impossible for fires to spread from one building to another. Flammable objects and vegetation should be kept at a safe distance from residential buildings. That way fires will rarely spread when a burning tree falls towards a house or some of the burning parts are blown towards the buildings.

To reduce the damage that could be caused by a wildfire in places with dense forests, a pattern of deforestation can be used to clear paths that will serve as blockades to the wildfires by cutting off the wildfire's fuel (flammable vegetation). The places that are cleared out can be made even safer by planting nonflammable plants. Examples of nonflammable plants can be found here. These non-flammable plants can also be used to surround houses in residential areas.

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Use of lightning rods to prevent lightning from starting wildfires

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 24, 2021
For wildfires to start, they need a source of heat to initiate the combustion of flammable materials until the reaction is self-sustainable. Most of the time the source of the heat that starts the fires is lightning. Lightning protection systems that absorb the energy from the lightning can be put in place so that there is hardly enough heat to cause a fire. Lightning receptors can convert the energy from the lightning to forms that are easily used to control fires in the case where the lightning still starts a fire, the energy from the lightning can be channeled to put out the fires.

The other common source of heat that can cause wildfires are human sources. Sometimes a fire that is created by humans can go out of control. In other cases, the power supply conduits or lighting devices can generate enough heat to start a fire. These can sources can be monitored by heat detection systems. Alarms can be set to go off whenever the heat in any area reaches levels that are considered dangerous enough to cause a fire.
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Remotely-operated steep terrain brush mowers in wildfire treatment

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Aug 02, 2022
Remotely-operated steep terrain brush mower that clears the terrain and reduces the amount of burning material to stop the spread of wildfires.
The idea was inspired by Darko Savic's session on DIY steep terrain brush mower.
How would it work?
The brush mower would be transported close to the wildfire and remotely operated to clear the terrain (bush, small trees, high grass) in the direction where the wildfire is spreading. That way, when the wildfire reaches clear terrain, its progress would be drastically reduced due to a lack of burning material, while firefighters could easily access the wildfire front and extinguish it.
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Florin Buda
Florin Budaa year ago
We could retrofit some WW2 rusted tanks into doing this.
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Access for the firetrucks

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Florin Buda
Florin Buda Aug 04, 2022
About 15 years ago we had a fire of a top of a montain and we coudn't do much as there weren't propper access roads for the firetrucks to get in.
Perhaps the firemen should have a word to say when new forest are planted or even to build smarter roads in the already existing forests - beter to invest in a road than see it burn.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Great! inter-departmental communication is necessary before the implementation of any idea.
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Firefighter trucks that generate energy from fire

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Aug 07, 2022
Peltier element-based electricity generator for firefighter trucks that carry water for extinguishing fires.
Why?
Fires are, along with the fact that they are disastrous, a great waste of energy. Millions of tons of burning material are being spent to destroy more burning material, man-made buildings and pollute the environment. In addition, enormous amounts of energy are being spent on powering machines, putting the fires out, feeding people, evacuating and regenerating the environment. If there is a way to harvest some energy from fires to reduce the total cost of fires, we should definitely do it.
The harvested energy could be used for powering water pumps, lighting, self-winding mechanisms for firehoses, vehicle battery, etc.
How would it work?
A firefighting truck would have a peltier element installed below the water tank. The other side of the element would consist of a metal fork that is put inside a fire. The concept would be similar to this one, but much larger.
Main problems to overcome are
  • the length of the fork - it must be long enough to ensure safe operation of the firefighting vehicle
  • the fire resistant materials used on the energy-harvesting system and the vehicle
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Transportable fire-resistant walls to stop the fire from spreading

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Aug 16, 2022
Easily-transportable fire-stopping walls made of thin fire-resistant materials (mentioned here).
They should be stable in the wind, resistant to fire and made of modules (easily upgradeable if needed).
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Preventing the wildfires using satellites

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Oct 14, 2020
If governments and big corporations use satellites to track every step, why they do not use the same technology to detect wildfires? True, there is no Wifi signal or GPS devices that they can trace, but hey, the incredible heat produced by fire, color contrast compared to the green surfaces (forests, meadows, ...), smoke clouds, and others must offer some solution.

As I read, it already exists , but it is imperfect and still in the process of being updated and is expected to further improve early fire detection and reduce false positives. The flaws are that the number of satellites is at the moment not big enough to fully cover the earth's surface all the time. This problem could be solved soon by the Berkeley team .

[1]https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/nasa-tracks-wildfires-from-above-to-aid-firefighters-below

[2]https://geog.ucsb.edu/early-warning-fire-detection-satellite-proposed-by-berkeley-scientists/

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Extra large fire-extinguishing blankets

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Aug 02, 2022
How would it work?
They would be made from material that is light and resistant to extremely high temperatures (at least for a few minutes). They would have anchors at all sides to prevent wind from lifting it. They would be carried by helicopters or the anchors would be fired from specialized vehicles/tools to enable the perfect positioning. There should be a significant number of blankets of different sizes available in stock, but they should also be very easy and fast to produce if needed in specific dimensions.
The material
  • fibreglass or amorphous silica laminated with heat-reflecting aluminium foil used by UrbnTek company that produces blankets for covering houses and protecting them from wildfires - can resist up to 1200 degrees Celzius (forest fire temperatures are between 800 and 1200)
  • specially-treated carbon fibre material
  • silicone glass fibre used in blankets for covering cars in fire
Application
  • to directly cover wildfires (or some parts of them) and extinguish them rapidly
  • to cover houses, cars or other facilities and prevent them from being damaged in fires (video)
  • to cover the part of the forest/vegetation where fire is spreading to stop the progress of a wildfire
Do you have any other ideas how this could be improved? Maybe an easier way how to implement this blanket/cover onto fire? New materials with required specifications?

[1]https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/technology/2022/06/20/inventor-promises-giant-blanket-could-save-a-home-from-wildfire#:~:text=SAN%20DIEGO%20%E2%80%94%20UrbnTek%2C%20a%20San,a%20wildfire%20threatens%20the%20structure.

[2]https://www.newscientist.com/article/2219859-huge-fire-blankets-can-protect-houses-from-destructive-wildfires/#:~:text=The%20best%2Dperforming%20blankets%20were,structure%20from%20fast%2Dmoving%20wildfires.

[3]https://www.leader-group.company/en/firefighting-equipment/fire-blanket/large-fire-blanket-leader-stop

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Great idea! This could totally work for houses, cars, etc. It will get tricky when placing it over the fire. How does one ensure that the blanket correctly covers the fire and does not fold and drop inside the fire? A flying blanket will be at the mercy of the winds and air currents. Although you have the anchors, depending upon the size of the blanket, the wind will easily uproot them or may even tear the anchored blanket.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikolaa year ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni I tried to explain the mechanism of how these blankets would work in a separate idea here. Maybe that solution solves some of your troubles. I know that it's still untested and need to be upgraded, but that's why we're here.
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Multifunction firefighting infrasound, hailstone, plant pollination drone apparatus and method

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 12, 2022
Simon Yu has a great solution to the wildfire problem.
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Fire-sucking system on wildfire fronts

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Aug 06, 2022
What if we created a pipeline system that could be transported to the wildfire front and set up in the direction of wildfire spreading? The pipeline would have a huge vent every few meters where the air (along with fire) would be vacuumed and prevent fire from spreading further. It could be powered by a gas motor of the truck that was used for transportation. The concept would be based on the elimination of the oxygen and the suction of the flame into the fire-resistant system. What do you think? Would it work?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Could work. I think the challenges here are timely transportation of the machinery to the affected area and the cost of suction, imagining the suction machine would be huge and that it will be on for a long time (till the fire is out).
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J. Nikola
J. Nikolaa year ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni The transportation could be expensive, I agree, especially if the terrain is inaccessible. The power it would require would be another problem that could possibly be solved by implementing some of the techniques I mentioned here. Also, considering the speed the wildfires spread, I don't think they should be turned on for a long time. Just a strong suction for a few minutes when the fire reaches the system. There could even be some thermoregulators that turn the system on automatically and prevent the fire from spreading towards the village.
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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Potential new fire detection tech https://youtu.be/gmwmgUpGRJ0
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 years ago
Darko Savic Yes, great find. It seems from the video that people are already working on a device that can convert heat (probably infrared signals) into electricity that can trigger alarms, water hoses, etc. to prevent a widespread fire.

Until that becomes reality, we may use the species of Jewel beetles and many other insect species that rely on burnt wood (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1015734630309) as biosensors to locate wildfires. There has been some development in that area too (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0925400501007833).
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