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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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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

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?
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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCRJSJPYy2A
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 months 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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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 months ago
Manel Lladó Santaeularia it might be feasible. Humanity plans to sequester gigatons of CO2 from the air in the coming years. Powdered CO2 will be as abundant as soil. We might as well figure out some environment friendly ways to hang it on trees in case it comes in handy:)
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 months ago
Darko Savic Yes probably CO2 will be very abundant but still the amount of work and cost involved would make this highly unfeasible in my opinion. I think that larger-scale fire-estinguishing bombs based on the same principle being dropped from airplanes when a fire has started would be a more efficient system. It could be similar to dropping water but instead dropping hundreds of those which could disperse using a system similar to cluster munition (1), which would explode on the ground. They could even be thrown in advance in the direction the fire is going to avoid it from expanding. What do you think of this?

References
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_munition
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Grid of drones to identify fires at the second they start

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Udruga Mladih UMNO
Udruga Mladih UMNO 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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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Many other fire-prone places also desperately need this, including the coastal areas of your country.
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Udruga Mladih UMNO
Udruga Mladih UMNOa year 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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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 Savic9 months 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 Kulkarnia year 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 Savica year 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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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 Savica year 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 Savica year 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 Kulkarnia year 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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Preventing the wildfires using satellites

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J
Juranium 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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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic8 months ago
Potential new fire detection tech https://youtu.be/gmwmgUpGRJ0
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months 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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