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Ecological Effects of Fire Retardant
Chemicals and Fire Suppressant Foams

Description of Chemicals


Phos Chek G75F.

Phos-Chek G75-F is a proprietary formulation composed of monoammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfate, fugitive coloring agent, and small amounts of gum-thickener, bactericide, and corrosion inhibitor (National Wildfire Coordinating Group, Fire Equipment Working Team 1991). Phos-Chek is typically applied from helicopter bucket or ground tanker in advance of a fire; other retardants with higher viscosity are applied from fixed-wing aircraft. The ammonium salts retard fire by chemically combining with cellulose as fuels are heated, as well as through evaporative cooling of the fuels. Phos-Chek is supplied by the manufacturer as a powder, which is mixed with water to the desired concentration before application.

Silv-Ex.

Silv-Ex concentrate is a proprietary mixture of sodium and ammonium salts of fatty alcohol ether sulfates, higher alcohols, and water, as well as butyl carbitol and ethyl alcohol (Ansul, Incorporated 1994). It functions as a surfactant (i.e. detergent), allowing water to penetrate and expand over the surface of fuels to both cool and smother the fire. Silv-Ex, like other Class A foams, is applied operationally either from ground tankers or helicopters. Silv-Ex is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, which is mixed with water to the desired concentration before application.

Fire-Trol GTS-R.

Fire-Trol GTS-R is a proprietary mixture of ammonium sulfate, diammonium phosphate, guar gum thickener, spoilage inhibitor, corrosion inhibitor, and iron oxide as a coloring agent to mark aerial drop sites (Chemonics, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). It functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount r unit surface area. Fire-Trol GTS-R is usually applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a powder concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1.66 pounds per gallon to produce 1.1 gallons of slurry, which is equivalent to 198.93 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Fire-Trol LCG-R.

Fire-Trol LCG-R is a proprietary mixture of ammonium polyphosphate, attapulgite clay thickener, corrosion inhibitor, and iron oxide as a coloring agent to mark aerial drop sites (Chemonics, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). It functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount of salt applied per unit surface area. Fire-Trol LCG-R is usually applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 4.5 gallons of water to produce 5.39 gallons of slurry, which is equivalent to 1457.25 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Phos-Chek D75-F.

Phos-Chek D75-F is a proprietary mixture of ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, guar gum thickener, corrosion inhibitor, and orange coloring agent (F=fugitive coloring agent, i.e., color disappears in 2-3 days after exposure to sun light) (Monsanto, Ontario, CA). It functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount of salt applied per unit surface area. Phos-Chef D75-F is usually applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a powder concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1.2 pounds per gallon to produce 1.069 gallons of slurry, which is equivalent to 143.8 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Phos-Chek WD-881. Phos-Chek WD-881 is a proprietary mixture of anionic surfactants, foam stabilizers, and solvents including hexylene glycol (Monsanto, Ontario, CA). It functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. These formulations also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. Phos-Chek WD-881 is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trunks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon per 100 gallon, which is then highly aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.

Fire-Trol LCA-F

Fire-Trol LCA-F is a proprietary mixture of ammonium polyphosphate, attapulgite clay thickener, corrosion inhibitor, and orange coloring agent to mark aerial drop sites (Chemonics, Industries, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). The Material Safety Data Sheet states ammonia and sodium cyanide are hazardous decomposition products. Fire-Trol LCA-F functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount of salt applied per unit surface area. Fire-Trol LCA-F is applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 5 gallons of water to produce a slurry, which is equivalent to 287.6 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Fire-Trol LCM-R

Fire-Trol LCM-R is a proprietary mixture of ammonium polyphosphate, attapulgite clay thickener, corrosion inhibitor, and red coloring agent to mark aerial drop sites (Chemonics, Industries, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). The Material Safety Data Sheet states ammonia and sodium cyanide are hazardous decomposition products. Fire-Trol LCM-R functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount of salt applied per unit surface area. Fire-Trol LCM-R is applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 4.25 gallons of water to produce a slurry, which is equivalent to 344 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Phos-Chek 259F

Phos-Chek 259F is a proprietary mixture of diammonium phosphate, guar gum thickener, other additives, and reddish coloring agent to mark aerial drop sites (Monsanto Company, Ontario, CA). The Material Safety Data Sheet states ammonia and phosphoric acid (when heated to approximately 200F [93C]) are hazardous decomposition products. Phos-Chek 259F functions as a long-term fire retardant that forms a combustion barrier after the evaporation of the water carrier. Formulation effectiveness depends on the amount of salt applied per unit surface area. Phos-Chek 259F is applied by aerial tanker. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a powder, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1.14 pounds per 1 gallon of water to produce a slurry, which is equivalent to 136.6 gram/liter. Retardant use ranges from 0.41 liter/square meter (1 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in annual and perennial grasses or tundra to >2.44 liter/square meter (>6 gallon/100 square feet) for fires in mixed chaparral or heavy slash.

Fire-Trol FireFoam 103B

Fire-Trol FireFoam 103B is a proprietary mixture of anionic surfactants, foam stabilizers, and inhibiting agent (hexylene glycol) (Chemonics Industries, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). The Material Safety Data Sheet states that there are no hazardous decomposition products. Fire-Trol FireFoam 103B functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. These formulations also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. Fire-Trol FireFoam 103B is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trucks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 100 gallons of water, which is then aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.

Fire-Trol FireFoam 104

Fire-Trol FireFoam 104 is a proprietary mixture of anionic surfactants, foam stabilizers, inhibitors, and solvents (hexylene glycol, n-butyl alcohol, and butanol) (Chemonics Industries, Inc., Phoenix, AZ). The Material Safety Data Sheet states that there are no hazardous decomposition products. Fire-Trol FireFoam 104 functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. These formulations also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. Fire-Trol FireFoam 104 is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trucks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 100 gallons of water, which is then aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.

Fire Quench

Fire Quench is a proprietary mixture of anionic surfactants, foam stabilizers, inhibitors, and solvents (Texas Department of Corrections, Sugarland, TX). The Material Safety Data Sheet states that some oxides of sulfur are hazardous decomposition products. Fire Quench functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. This formulation also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. Fire Quench is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trucks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 100 gallons of water, which is then aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.

ForExpan S

ForExpan S is a proprietary mixture of ammonium deceth 2,2 sulfate, 2(2-butoxyethoxy) ethanol, ethanol, sodium myriteth 3 sulfate, myriteth-3, and 1-dodecanol (Angus FireArmourLtd., Toronto, Ontario). The Material Safety Data Sheet states that some oxides of sulfur and nitrogen are hazardous decomposition products. ForExpan S functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. This formulation also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. ForExpan S is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trucks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 100 gallons of water, which is then aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.

Pyrocap B-136

Pyrocap B-136 is a proprietary mixture of anionic surfactants, foam stabilizers, and other additives (Pyrocap Inc., Springfield, VA). The Material Safety Data Sheet gives no information about hazardous decomposition products. Pyrocap B-136 functions as a short-term fire suppressant that enhances the ability of water to penetrate fuel sources, thus reducing the ability of the fuel to ignite. This formulation also act by slowing the evaporation of water, increasing water retention on fuel sources, and reducing air contact with the fuel by insulating the fuel source from the heat of the fire. Pyrocap B-136 is usually applied by ground operated units mounted on trucks or portable trailers. It is supplied by the manufacturer as a liquid concentrate, and is prepared for field use by mixing 1 gallon of concentrate per 100 gallons of water, which is then aerated to produce huge volumes of foam. Mixtures can range from 0.1 to 1% concentrate, which is equivalent to 1 to 10 gram/liter.


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