USA — The inventor of a new fire blanket for wildland firefighters has turned to online fundraising to move the technology from the R&D phase to market. The campaign hopes to raise $150,000 by the end of November.
James Moseley is the creator of the SunSeeker Fire Blanket, which is made from a wool-based ceramic fiber material that can withstand heat of more than 2,500°F without releasing harmful smoke or fumes, according to a spokesperson. The fire blanket has a foil-spray applied to prolong the disintegration process of the fire shelter to 4 minutes and is the same technology NASA uses on shuttle missions during atmospheric reentry. It currently weighs 3 pounds per square foot.
Standard fire shelters in use by firefighters protect up to 500°F for roughly 2 minutes. SunSeekers goal is 2,500°F protection for up to 4 minutes.
Moseley developed the fire blanket for commercial use and, after the death of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in June, began testing it for the wildland market, according to a spokesperson.
SunSeekers target goal of $150,000 will go towards covering development and prototype manufacturing costs. The blanket currently costs about $15 per square foot, the spokesperson said. For a larger shelter around 44 square feet, it would cost $660. With proper funding, a 4-second release would add another $40 based on U.S. manufacturing costs.