Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

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leabuddy
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Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby leabuddy » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:38 am

I understand that this will be long, but please bear with me as I believe this has has tremendous possibilities. I have been wondering now for several years about using airboat engines to combat forest fires, especially those forest fires on the west coast in California. The forest fires are monsters and are pushed by extremely high winds. It seems to me that the fire officials know which direction the winds are pushing the fires. These fires usually burn many thousands of acres destroying homes and wild and human lives. What I'm proposing is backburning using airboat engines. You go ahead of the fire 5-10-15-20 miles and start a backburn, to eliminate the fuel the fire needs to continue burning, with the power of the wind that an airboat engines produces they can burn large acreages of fuel so that when the oncoming fires reaches that point the fire goes out as there is no more fuel to burn.

My proposal is that the engine is mounted on the rear of a water tanker. A backburn is started and the wind from the propeller then pushes the fire to burn up all the brush and other growth in the area. A ring of nozzels are placed around the cage of the propeller and water is injected into the airstream to extinguish any smoldering areas after the burn. The water tanker with the engine on the rear can then continue to push the fire in the direction of the forest fire that is coming, so that when they have enough area burned, maybe a mile or two,or more, the oncoming fire will go out as there is no more fuel to burn.

I realize that just one airboat engine will not accomplish this. Having a fleet of these engines attached to water tankers and placed at specifed distances between each tanker, could burn large areas of brush and growth that are required for a raging forest fire to continue to burn. These engines could also be place on a turrent so that the direction of the airstream produced could burn larger areas rather than just straight ahead, possibley 45 degress or 60 degrees going back and forth. Possibly the ability to adjust the airstream up a few degrees in elevation to push the fire up into the trees as the backburn continues.

The cost of forest fire destruction are in the millions and billions of dollars plus the loss of lives. The cost of having a fleet of 50 to 100 airboat engines would be considerably less and would save homes and towns as well as saving wildlife and human lives.

I would appreciate any feedback on this idea as well as how to get this information to the right people that would see the validity of this proposal to fight forest fires.

SWAMPHUNTER45
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby SWAMPHUNTER45 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:31 am

It's a concept but I just don't think that it will be enough to overcome mother natures ability. If it was employed on calm days to target small pockets of under growth it may prove useful.

Years ago I met an old fellow who was hired at the former football stadium in Tampa to push water off the field. He and a friend would strap the boats down and lock their throttle and rudders then slowly push water from the field as it lacked a good crown.

Today you can see a modern version on the track at NASCAR events with the turbine track dryer. I bet when that inventor first showed up some of them old boys thought he was crazy.

Maybe consider a prototype trailer or swamp buggy mounted that could be self contained with a few hundred gallons of water.

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mojoe
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby mojoe » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:18 am

My guess: a number of those would be a marginally effective but risky tool to create a fire break before a prescribed burn during appropriate weather.... problem is, a bulldozer is a proven effective tool to do the same thing without the inherent risk of fire.
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glades cat
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby glades cat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:44 am

Your idea sounds interesting. Not sure how practical it may be.
I suggest you contact FEMA, who developed NIMS ( National Incident Management System) and ICS (Incident Command System), which is used at Wildland Fires and all Emergencies. It is the command model with which FEMA operates as well as Fire, Police and all other emergency responders. Your proposed resource needs to be approved by them.
I got my Red Card back in the 90's and have many/most of the ICS courses as a fireman for 34 yrs.
California has The most organized, experienced and trained responders in the world as far as Wildland Firefighting. They are bad to the bone. Water supply is usually a problem. So is access. That is the reason for air drops and boots on the ground with hand tool...you can't get powered equipment or vehicles to most places where work needs to be done.
Also...a big also...the winds generated by these fires will dwarf any prop job. Also, back-fires are dangerous and if done improperly, will backfire.
Good luck with your idea. Build it and maybe someone will buy it. Until then, it's only an idea.
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leabuddy
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby leabuddy » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:26 pm

Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate the advice given. I will continue in my endeavor.

AceNtheHole
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby AceNtheHole » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:38 pm

I doubt if it would work. A prop can only push wind so far. Maybe 50 yards at best. and assuming you are trying to push wind with a prop against the already strong winds against you, it would be a futile effort at best.
might make a great cartoon though........

rac1boat
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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby rac1boat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:37 pm

The only way to control wildfires in California is prescribed burning, getting rid of the excess fuel. The cost probably wouldn't be any cheaper but the damage an lives would be spared. They need to do alot more of this. Taking a air tanker with retardent a mile wide and burn in between in areas where fuel is abundant. California has all the right ingredients for natural wildfires much less for man made ones. I say go for it , if it doesn't work, nobody can say you did't try.

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Re: Using airboat engines to fight forest fires

Postby Aeon » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:48 pm

pretty much zero chance of them even letting you try. When our fires get going with a 40mph wind at 5% humidity there is nothing on earth that can stop the fires from destruction. The canyon 2 fire we just had here in southern California went from tiny fire to oh **** in two seconds. the terrain here does net lend it self with very hilly ( giant mountains for you Florida people ) it just will not work. The only thing that stops them when they are going full speed is running out of fuel or the weather changing.

yes i live here and have lived with fires my whole life. price of doing biz here.
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