did Red Adair have any techniques other than oil capping ?
he starved the flame of oxygen with explosions. maybe a similar tech could be applied to bush fire.
blowing the [***] outta the place may not sound great but killing the flame is, = minus projectiles ;0)
Hydrogen has the fastest detonation velocity and the oxidisation = water
Now stop and have a little think about the differences between the two types of fires
One has a fuel, oil which is fairly cold and is using the heat from the flame to evaporate the liquid oil into a gas so it can burn.
Once you remove the flame for a few seconds you take away what is creating the gasseous phase and the oil at the surface cools down, stops evaporating so the fire is effectively put out provided the remaining oil gas is not reignited & can dissipate to a non flammible air : fuel ratio
And in the case of most oil well fires there is a very small surface area that is burning and the fuel is coming out of a small hole and that fuel is cold so will not burn.
Remember you can put white hot steel into oil and the oil does not burst into flames, heat treater do it all the time.
If you can find some U tubes of heat treating ( oil quenching ) railway wheels you will see the oil smoke then some flame right against the wheel where the red hot wheel is igniting the oil vapour but it all stops once the wheel is fully under the surface.
With a bushfire you have thousands of kilometers of fire front and the fuel is pyrolising wood.
If you blow out the flame, the wood will continue to pyrolise for a very long time and the instant it gets an oxadizing agent it will burst back into flame again .
If you blast a pool of oil and splash oil everywhere , that oil flying through the air will cool down, stop evaporating so when it hits the ground it will not burn, unless the ground is hot enough to vapourise the oil again & there is an ignition point or the ambient temperature is hot enough to cause self ignition.
Do the same thing with a bushfire & you are going to blow burning logs & branches all over the place and everywhere that they land will burst into flame because the red hot wood will become an ignition point for the dry fuel it lands on.
Thus you will be spreading the fire .
Also the burning log flying through the air does not go out but burns stronger as it is getting exposed to more air.
The effect is basically the same as reigniting a fire by fanning the embers and blowing the ash off the surface which is preventing air entering.
Basically what happens is a man made ember attack .
Back last century there were proposals to put barrels of gunpowder in front of the fire front in order to blow the fire out.
A few years back the same proposal was done for the West Australian fires except they were going to use barels of ammonia / oil explosive.
Now in theory it would work provided that all of the explosive force was directed back into the fire front so all of the debris blew back over the ground that had already been burned and the debris field was fully burned out .
Neither of these two exist in a real fire unless it is about to burn onto a sheer cliff face.
people latch onto an idea without actually thinking it through and when people who know what they are proposing will not work they arch up and become more committted to the point that they can no longer see reason let alone evaluating it.
People see things like fire retardants as a mgic bullet, you drop a bucket of it on a fie and the fire magically goes out & stays out.
They see the advertizing bumph that uses words like "long lasting " or "persistent" so they jump to conclusions that the goos work forever.
What they can not undersand or refuse to acknowledge is the act of preventing fuel burning consumes the retardant and if there is a lot of fuel it consumes all of the retardant very quickly.
To cool a ton of wood down to a temperature that pyrolysis ceases requires something like 5 tons of water to carry the heat away or 2 tons if you can some how make the water sit on the wood while it removes all of the heat by boiling.
Remember that water works on 2 levels.
IT cools the fuel thus reducing the rate of pyrolsis so reducing the intensity of the fire
IT prevents oxygen getting to the flame front thus smothering the flames.
A retardant only works on one level.
It pinches the Oxygen thus starving the fire of air.
However what people fail to appreciate is once the molecules of retardant have become fully oxygenated they cease to do anything.
Retardant alone can not put a fire out unless you put enough of it on a fire to smother a fire and you need a massive amount of it to do that.
How it is generally used is you drop it in front of the fire fire front as the fire front approaches whatever you are trying to protect.
The retardant slows that section of the fire down so the fire front takes on a U or V shape and runs around what you are trying to protect.
The speed of travel and the heat in the sides of the U or V is lowered enough ( hopefully ) so ground crews can attack the fire and prevent it burnng whatever you are trying to protect or the water doused onto the house etc is sufficient to protect it from the radient heat and ember attack.
The fire front travels past whatever you are protecting then fairly quickly joins up over the break you made with the retardant.
Also what people do not understand is there is the fire & the fire front.
The fire front , the bit with the 200' tall flames & massive heats which you see on the TV. THis is mainly the "kindling" forest floor debris & canopy in a crowning fire.
The there is the rest of the fire behind it , That is a lot cooler and consists of burning logs, thick branches & tree trunks plus all of the fuel that the fire front failed to consume .
The body of the fire can be 20 m, 30 miles deep and the full width of the fire front.
A change of winds causes this section to burst back into flames and is the bit you attack with water.
The fire front you starver for fuel
There is no other way to put out a bush fire.
Shane went to the effort of showing some simplified maths that we could all follow to show just how much retardant you would need to drop on a fire front to put out a fire.
IT is an impossible to deliver amount .
If you used every fire bomber on the planet it would take months of flying 24 / 7.
Not a single fixed wing bomber is certified for night use anywhere on the planet, although this is coming, it is not here yet , so not available to fight this years fires.
The only airports that can accomodate the big jets are better than 1/2 hour flying time so that limits them to around 7 drops a day per plane and there are ony 5 very large tankers on the planet that are in flying condition.
We have one down here , California has one in the USA and one has just finished a tour of duty in Brazil and is out of service for scheduled servicng and repairs which will take several months and has to be done because they have a contracts in the USA that requires it to be flight ready at call from April 1.
Some one who is not thinking strait decided without doing the maths or understand the physics that we could put the fire out in a couple of weeks , based solely on the advertizing he sees on face book using aircraft that do ot exist .
This happens when peoples sole source of information is face book & u tube where you see the same aircraft a dozen times painted different colours and skim the headlines without reading the text underneath it to find out thay are all the same plane.
There is only 1 747 in operation & it was made up by pinching bits from the previous 3 which are all in a bone yard being stripped down for parts. The certified plane is out of service till April .
There are 2 737's and one is down here.
There is a big tanker in Russia & one in China both locally made and neither certified to fly in Australia.