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How Safe Is The Red Fire Retardants Chemistry Dropped On Young Firefighters ?

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How Safe Is The Red Fire Retardants Chemistry Dropped On Young Firefighters ?

August 26 2018 by Steve Conboy

Our prayers go out to Matthew. This young firefighter was killed in the line of duty.
Utah battalion chief's death may have been linked to airplane retardant drop
Fire retardant dropped from a plane into an area that should have been cleared of firefighters, may have had something to do with the death of Matthew Burchett.
“We’re trained to keep ourselves out of the area,” Cief Allen said. “The sheer weight and velocity of the drops themselves can be dangerous. ... For whatever reason, if you’re in the area, you’re supposed to lay down on the ground, put your tools aside and hang onto your helmet.”

"The tree debris blamed for Burchett’s death may have been forced down by the retardant or wind from the plane", Allen speculated, "or it just could have fallen down at the same time as the drop and had little to do with it".

Burchett was the sixth firefighter killed responding to California’s historic spate of wildfires this summer. It’s the most lethal season since 2008. Many say the combination of fierce fires, limited staff and fatigue has played a role.

“Unfortunately, because there’s so many personnel putting in long hours and so much equipment moving up and down the state, and fire itself is hazardous, it all just adds up,” Allen said.

In the aftermath of Monday’s report, Cal Fire officials have reiterated their directive for fire line personnel to remain clear of areas where retardant or water is being dropped.

Fire retardant is generally made up of water, fertilizer and a red coloring agent and plays a major role in helping stop the spread of a wildfire before hand crews move in to put it out. In the spot where Burchett was working, the mix was dropped from either a DC-10 or a 747, officials said.

When the need for fire elimination chemicals is so great today are we overlooking the current methods to really screen test these chemicals that are being dropped over our brave firefighters. https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/fire/wfcs/documents/HHRA-Ret_2014.pdf

Should we compare the red fire retardants being dropped today to other new fire inhibitors like Mighty Fire Breaker™, when it concerns exposure to humans and real fire testing to see which is best on both fronts? Should the red fire retardant be screen tested by UL GreenGuard Gold to see if it would pass for indoor air quality testing? Should we test this red fire retardant next to Mighty Fire Breaker in real accredited 3rd party fire laboratories to see the different in E84 extended tests to see which reduces ignition time flame spread speed and smoke index. Why are these test results not available to the public now? Something could be wrong because it could be over diluted with water to reduce its ability to do what it was designed to do only to make it safer. When it comes to cost and depleting our resources are we wasting way to much chemistry over the fire that evaporates most of what is being dropped instead of using chemistry that only uses water for its delivery but when dry, clings to the vegetation ad breaks the chemical reaction by removimg the fire's strength and its advance in consuming homes. I say our government needs to move in and do a side by side toxicity and flame spread testing now.

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