Friday, July 6, 2012

Getting new planes for the US Forest Service won't save lives or property if the retardant used isn't replaced with something new.

By Howard DeLaCruz-Bancroft,

I apologize but I am reworking this current story and for the next couple of days it will only have these few summary paragraphs. However the following is the crux of what I hope to accomplish.

Two simple policies of the US Forest Service (USFS) need to be changed.

1. The rest of the world and other federal agencies mandate direct suppression and attack on fires as soon as possible and so should the USFS follow suit. We don't need to manage fires we need to extinguish them.

2. USFS policy does not allow gel based fire retardant's to be used in larger multi-engine air tankers. This prohibition needs to be removed. Even the Bible seems to add wisdom to this issue in Luke 5:38 it advises to put new wine (gel based retardants) in new wineskins (planes). My take if the USFS is getting new planes then don't use old retardant that is toxic and ineffective.

In my second part of this expose to be released later, I want to show how other current policies, practices and procedures hinder the US Forest Service from acting quickly and effectively in firefighting.


  1. You seem to have many facts wrong. Any chance you might be interested in the truth?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Of course. Please feel free to share your understanding of the truth. It would be nice to see your information.

  2. Gel is NOT a retardant. Gel is a water enhancer that simply makes water more effective by allowing it to stay in place. Once the water is gone, after only minutes under fire conditions, there is ZERO effectiveness. Retardants react chemically with the fuel to render it non-combustible, don't rely on water to be effective, and are effective until physically removed. Calling a gel a "retardant gel" is wrong, misleading and dangerous.

    Gels and retardants must meet the SAME health, safety, toxicity and environmental friendliness requirements in order to be qualified. Calling retardant toxic and gel non-toxic is a lie.

    In addition, retardant must also pass a burn test to prove it is effective stopping and slowing a fire. Gel has no such requirement. There is no data anywhere that proves gel will stop a fire.

    The 300 foot buffer around water streams, a policy that has been in place for 10 years, is good policy because anything dropped directly into a water stream will impact water quality and could impact fish. Including gel.

    GelTech's BPAs for Delivery Equipment are for RETARDANT not gel. Perhaps you should read them.

    There is no evidence that FireIce is "the most effective suppressant/retardant in the world." In fact, the QPL would say otherwise. It takes 2-4 times as much FireIce as either AquaGel or Thermogel 500P to achieve the same result.

    The planes breaking off wings happened 8 years ago and had nothing to do with the chemical on board. Read the Blue Ribbon Panel Report.

    Just because FireIce is mixed the same, uses the same equipment with the same viscosity...does not make it a retardant versus a water enhancer. That's like saying potatoes and watermelons are the same because they both cut with a knife in a kitchen. Retardants and water enhancers are totally different chemicals that do totally different things. FireIce does not function, in any aspect, as a retardant.

    Finally the mix ratio of the new Phos-Chek products was reduced to reflect its INCREASED effectiveness. It takes less of the new concentrate than the old to achieve the same effectiveness. That REDUCES the cost per gallon.