Wildland fire fighting equipment

  
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ning

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I'm well aware that a major forest fire is going to have my house for lunch regardless of what I do, if we're in its path - I don't plan to be around to watch it happen. We've evacuated a few times and last time had no expectations that our house would be standing when we got back.

My goal is to be able to better handle a small fire, *before* it becomes a forest fire.

As an example, two weeks ago my brilliant next-door neighbor decided to remove a blackberry bramble with fire (not his first brush with wild fire). On a lightly breezy day... next thing he knows, it's burning all of last year's dead grass around it says it's getting away from him. I was out doing something on my tractor nearby and saw his actions getting more frantic, so I drove over, and saw that we could probably handle it and used my bucket to back-scrape some lines, but I wasn't quick enough to keep it from hitting another bramble. I was able to scrape from the other side of that bramble to compress it and shove it towards the already-burned area, but it looked like the wind-licked flames were going to jump the irrigation canal to more brambles (a real shame as my wife picks 80+ lbs of blackberries in that area later in the summer).

In this case, we got lucky that the wind completely stilled and we were able to control the fire. Had the wind kept up or intensified, it would've been a quick call to the pros and 10 minutes later they'd be on site, and meanwhile we'd be doing our evacuation prep while the fire burned.

With the rig I'd like to set up, I'd grab it at first sign that my neighbor was getting ambitious, and that fire would've been out quickly. If it was enveloping trees and such? I'm out, let's leave asap.

I want to be able to get to work on a small fire as a immediate responder on-site until the pros show up or I decide to tuck tail and run. Kinda like being there with a heimlich or cpr, right?
 

ponytug

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Yes, @ultrarunner many fire fighting foams and gels are very toxic. PFOS, "Forever" chemicals, perfluronated acids and sulfoxides. I wouldn't use them on my property. There are biodegradable versions, but they are harder to find. That is why I use drench, (wetting agent for active fires) and phoscheck(fire retardant, chars), which are biodegradable, but they are spray only. In theory, you can spray phoscheck in advance and it will keep grass from burning until washed off.

@ning Those small fires are why I have a fire pump, and hose bibs all over. So, I think a small trailer is a good idea. My two cents would be try a few fire drills to see what you need. I recommend high pressure fire pumps and smaller hoses; dragging even inch and a half hoses up a steep grade when they are full of water is a workout.

There are intumescent paints that add fire resistance to homes, (they foam up and char to make an insulating layer). Personally, I would love to find a local installer of European metal roll shutters, or hurricane shutters. People forget about radiant heat and things like drapes and furniture near windows as combustion risks. I would also think about how and where things like compressed air, propane, gasoline and diesel are stored.

Large pools definitely help; it is way more water than most home owners store otherwise, and it makes it safer for firefighters to stay to defend your house, as does a second driveway in a different direction for escape.

Im with @oosik; having seen wild land firefighting up close, I prepare every year by trimming, chipping, grazing, and removing all leaves. Every year, I have continued to harden the house, but it is just more resistant. It will never be fireproof. After that, it is about escape plans: I then plan to evacuate and rebuild if I have to. I don't think it is for amateurs to fight wild land fires.

All the best,

Peter
 

super55

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This is a situation where the best offense is a good defense. In that I mean if you want to save a structure is to prevent minimize combustables around your home. These dried out evergreen trees, shrubs, bark mulch, or especially pine straw are great fuels for a fire to take off.

Personally if I lived in fire country and I knew my house was in it's path I would first set myself up for the best chance of success. Like a stone flower bed around the perimeter of the house and an open lawn and if with trees have them be deciduous and not evergreen. A great source would be calling your fire dept or DNR and have them do a fire assessment on your estate. They would be able to tell you in 5 minutes what features are increased risks.
 

oosik

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I have nothing on my property worth a person being killed - that my insurance won't replace.
 

ultrarunner

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Euro Shutters are just about standard construction where I was in semi rural Austria.. also adds a level of security.

Someone imported some for a upscale home build and there were fire department concerns on egress

My home is a 90's build but it was owner build and incorporates several features not required at the time... shame none are taken into consideration by insurance

Masonary and/or stucco exterior with boxed eves.

Triple pane windows.

Clay Tile roof with copper flashing

Fully Fire Sprinklered inside and outside and under eves.

Deck of masonary and tile with no wood exposed.

Home Fire Hose with 1.5 supply at 180 psi

Perimeter rock and or lawn...

Large area driveway

Municipal Fire Hydrant 110 feet from property.

As for flaws there are 2 large oaks fully protected by city statute that are of concern... and wood steps/landing from masonary deck
 
 
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