A new gel-like liquid that sticks to the vegetation for months could be an ingenious new way to prevent the burning of Mother Nature.
This sprayable retarder was used by an engineer and a former fire-protection day developed to dramatically reduce the number of forest fires per year.
It is hoped that this technique will act as a vaccine against future fires by coating large areas of vegetation in particularly vulnerable areas.
says material scientist and engineer Eric Appel of Stanford University.
"What we are doing now is to monitor forest fires and wait with bated breath for fires to start and then extinguish them."
Today, as firefighters When they react in the place of an active fire, they use retarding agents such as inorganic salt, ammonium polyphosphate, or APP, which produces water when burned.
The problem is that these solutions work only for a short time because they lose their effectiveness as soon as the water they hold evaporates. And with most forest fires, this can happen in less than an hour.
The new gel is essentially a sticky and refractory carrier for these chemical retarding agents. The material, which is mainly made from plant material, is based on cellulose, which means that it sticks to the vegetation in rain, wind or sunshine.
In addition, the inventors say that it is also non-toxic and can be safely sprayed on the environment using current agricultural machinery or aircraft.
Previously, it was tested for grass and shame by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Safety (CalFire). In both scenarios, the spray offered complete fire protection even after heavy rainfall. In comparison, other commercial retarders offered little or no protection.
"We do not have a comparable tool," says Alan Peters, a CalFire department head who oversaw some of the test burns.
"It has the potential to definitely reduce the number of fires."
This stuff can not only be used to prevent fires, but can also be used in much larger doses to stifle a fire when Once it has started ̵
Forest fires around the world are expected to become more intense and frequent as climate change worsens, and currently our management methods are rather limited.
New inventions and techniques are urgently needed in these unprecedented cases Researchers are now working with the state of California to test this gel in tree-lined roads that trigger dozens of fires in the region each year. If it works, it could protect countless lives and livelihoods in many other places.
The results are reported in PNAS .