Russia: Forest Fire Retardants (IFFN No. 6)

Forest Fire Retardants in Russia

(IFFN No. 6 – January 1992, p. 14)

Leningrad Forest Research Institute at St.Petersburg was the first institute in the USSR which developed forest fire retardants. These products are designed for protection of forests against wildfires from ground and aircraft. One of the products is the soluble “OC-5”, which serves a variety of purposes such as

  • active fire-fighting along the edge of surface forest fires of different intensities;
  • constructing buffer and widened mineralised strips;
  • extinguishing peat and raw humus fires.

The OC-5 solution has a long-term fire retardant effect so that the flammability of forest fuels sprayed with OC-5 (e.g. timber, needles, grass) is greatly reduced until the next rainfall. At the same time the solution possesses fire-extinguishing and fire-proofing characteristics, blockading both flaming and smoldering combustion of wildland fuels.

The suitability of the products in practice has been tested in several European and Asian places of the USSR under different forest growing conditions. Between 1986 and 1990 more than 1,000 forest fires were suppressed by using the OC-5 composition.

The “OC-A1” forest fire retardant can be used for aerial fire suppression e.g. for the construction of buffer strips from helicopters equipped with special nozzles. “OC-A1” can be applied on the ground using fire-fighting machines, cross-country vehicles and other fire-fighting equipment. OC-A1 is available in well water-soluble powder form and requires not more than 15 minutes to dissolve completely in water (temperature of water 20oC) and to form hydrogel. OC-A1 has been designed specifically for forest fire fighting: The dissolved orange-coloured retardant, once dropped from on forest stands and other ground cover, provides good sighting along the protective fire-fighting belts from the air. Viscosity allows an economic use of the retardant and minimizes the losses when dropping from helicopters. The handling of the solution does not require any special precaution measures. The solution is non-toxic, non-corrosive, inexplosive and ecologically harmless. While OC-5 and OC-A1 have the same fire-proofing characteristics as “PHOS-CHEK”, the retardant offers an economically interesting alternative. For more information contact:

58604 Byte

59869 Byte

Fig. 1. and 2. Fire tractor constructed on the base of a converted ALT-55 tank (above) and on the base of a former artillery tractor AT-T and a military truck. The design of this heavy firefighting equipment was developed by the Institute for Forest Fire Protection in Krasnoyarsk. (32806 Byte)

Fig. 3. MI-8 helicopter delivering extinguishants from the air. The VSU helibucket is adjustable to laods of 1; 1.5; 1.75 and 2 tons.

From: Michael A. Potiomin

Leningrad Forest Research Institute
Institutsky prospect, 21,
P.O.Box 194021
St. Petersburg


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