The bush fire blanket project involves the use of robust but light fire resistant blankets of up to and over 100m square metres for the complete temporary coverage of homes threatened by fire as well as active fire fighting of grass fires and low bush type wild fires.

Large format fire blankets are already being tested especially for car fire suppression. An example is shown here:

The main difference in our concept is that the blanket is being used for fire prevention rather than fire suppression.

The current research is on blanket materials such as fibre glass and woven steel and on fast deployment technologies such as roll on-roll off techniques (drawing coming soon) and a caterpillar based manual or motorised multi-person smothering device suited to small scrub or grass fire fighting. (Drawing coming soon).

Background
Ric has been working for some time on the concept of smothering fires🔥 rather than drowning them. He has also worked on a wire mesh cover for houses.

Success Criteria
The success criteria for this project are:
  • Effective strong fire fighting capability without the use of water or consumable suppression liquids or materials.
  • Must be re-useable
  • Must deploy in less than 15 minutes for a residential or rural single story dwelling.
  • Must be deployable by 2-3 semi experienced fire fighters.
  • Must cost less than $5,000AUD per blanket.

What was tried and what didn’t work
  • The steel mesh approach for covering houses and grass fire smothering was dismissed as even the smallest embers can stil ignite fires if they can pass through the mesh.
  • A full no mesh blanket approach that utilised 100 square metre blankets being dragged or positioned by a mobile crane was discarded due to its dependence on availability of mobile cranes. There is just not enough of them. And the ability to manually drag the blankets across ground using fire resistant chains and winches either manually or on vehicles negated the need for the specialised mobile cranes. Fire blanket crane deployment above. Crane is way too big for the weight (approx. 200kg) but was used for illustrative purposes.

  • Another research area has been frustrated covering a method for quickly deploying a blanket over a residents house with an approaching fire. The technique considered involved catapulting the blanket from one side of the house to the other to allow quick 2-3 man operation and a 15 minute deployment time frame.