New Technology Proves Wildfire Doesn’t Have to Destroy Homes


Rapid City, SD 57709- Just three major fire events in Southern California in recent years resulted in the destruction of 9,000 homes—as many as were destroyed during the 10-year span from 1985 to 1994. Property loss for the 2007 California Fire Storm alone was estimated at $1.8 billion. As housing developments continue to expand into traditionally nonurban areas, this trend isn’t expected to change any time soon. Ken Frederickson, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Boise, ID, says, “We are now in a Mega-Fire era.”

According to one account, 38% of new home construction in the Western United States is on properties adjacent to or within the Wildland Urban Interface. This brings a growing number of people and their homes into contact with wildfires and presents increasing challenges to firefighters. The main tools in their arsenal have been water, foam and gel, with gel offering the longest lasting structure protection. What hasn’t been available to firefighters though, is an efficient way to deliver the gel.

Dakota Fire Systems, Inc., a new company out of Rapid City, SD, has the solution that could very well revolutionize how fires are fought and prevent this catastrophic loss of property. DakotaFire has invented a system that allows firefighters to spray the highly effective fire retardant gel on an average 2500 square foot home in 15 minutes. A slimy, water barrier is left on the home, which can be sprayed hours ahead of the fire, protecting the home when the fire reaches it. Once applied, the gel can even be rehydrated with low pressure water as needed, providing protection for days.

DakotaFire Systems’ patent-pending pressurized gel delivery systems are the first to provide uniform and consistent coverage of flame retardant gel even under extreme conditions. These unique systems have been field tested in 20 major fires across the western United States. During the past three fire seasons, Gorden Sabo, veteran fireman and inventor of DakotaFire’s delivery systems, has saved well over 200 homes with only two engines equipped with DakotaFire gel systems!

The Patent-Pending Gel Delivery Systems manufactured by DakotaFire provide a highly effective means of applying gel in structure protection situations as well as for fire suppression. These systems are based on familiar firefighting equipment and perform reliably in spite of variances in altitude, weather or water quality.

Gel is a highly absorbent polymer that consists of approximately 97% water. To put it simply gel helps water work harder, making it adhere to virtually any surface. Gel can also help “seal” a home and prevent smoke damage.

Since firefighters can apply gel hours ahead of time and move on to protect other structures, they can work safely several hours ahead of the fire. DakotaFire’s gel systems can help to not only conserve resources and save structures, they will potentially save firefighters’ lives.

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