Currently showing: Climate/natural disasters > Disaster risk

26 Jan 14 20:33

The U.S. National Fire Protection Association has a video
which discusses the extremely high cost of wildfires.
In 2012, the U.S. government spent $2 Billion just fighting wildfires. However the video suggests that the total costs are from
2 to 30 times greater. The extra costs include rebuilding homes and infrastructure, damage from flooding from burned forest runoff, and forest restoration costs.

I am developing a Hose System with an embedded wire that supports a digital network. The system can be used to fight grassfires and small wildfires. If wildfires can be stopped in grass or when they are small, they won't reach homes and large trees, and then become megafires.
The system can be deployed and then operated by radio control by firefighters who have moved to safer locations.

The hose system can also be used to insure that prescribed fires don't get out of control.
Experts say that we need more prescribed fires, but the dangers of them escaping reduce the number of days that they can be done.

I would appreciated any comments and feedback on the proposed system.

Short Demo Video r1.avi - Google Drive

Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk

Location: USA


Alicia Montoya - 28 Jan 2014, 7:15 a.m.

Sounds great! And I love that you can control it from a distance, digitally. And that it enables safe management of prescribed fires, so necessary for some vegetation. So let me get this straight, if a fire occurs, you'd either circle assets you want to protect with the hose, or you'd try circle the fire to put it out? How long can the hose be? And how is it better than other solutions in the market?

Fight Wildfires - 28 Jan 2014, 3:44 p.m.

Hi Alicia. Thanks for your interest.
Circling assets is main use for protection. Regular fire trucks can prevent spread of house fires. Containing prescribed fire is difficult for fire trucks since fires can be very wide, and hose system will work better.
With single pump, hose can be 1 mile long. With diesel booster pumps, no limit on distance. Dir of Eng at Hale Products wrote conference paper with me about remote control of diesel booster pumps.

At is only system similar that I know about. They don't have remote control, and they require sprinklers on tripods which take much time to set up. If US Patent Office found ANY comparable system anywhere in the world, they would not have granted me a patent.

Fight Wildfires - 28 Jan 2014, 3:51 p.m.

Correction on comment about -
They can turn their entire system on or off, at site or by radio remote control.
But, they can't control individual zones of their system at site or by remote control.

Roland Friedli - 29 Jan 2014, 9:45 a.m.

What an excellent innovation. I think it would need both: managing the sources of fire (e.g. vegetation management, ignition sources by e.g. utility providers) in order to avoid fires as far as possible. And an effective fire fighting system as you present it.

Not being a fire fighter myself I wondered how vulnerable the system is to the heat of the fire? Would it (the remote control) still work if the fire is getting close?

An other thought I had is how effective is your system in protecting against embers? Apparently a major threat to houses are not the open flames but embers transported by winds:

Fight Wildfires - 29 Jan 2014, 4:26 p.m.

Thank you Roland. I believe that the electronics could be protected by insulated steel boxes. The spray would be aimed toward the fire and not straight up, so as to keep fire away from hose. I believe that the radios will work unless the fire cannot be stopped. The idea is to stop lower intensity grassfires and small brushfires before they reach large trees and homes.

The hose is real fire hose, and is designed to tolerate moderate heat.

An associate who has fought many bushfires believes that a 40 foot wall of water can stop embers from igniting homes.
The demo video had a maximum pump pressure of 50 psi to get the 40 foot height. The hose can tolerate much higher pressures, so the wall of water could be even higher.
Further testing is being planned.

Fight Wildfires - 29 Jan 2014, 4:48 p.m.

Having a wire in a hose also gives the ability to move water very long distances by using multiple diesel booster pumps. This can be done to bring water to a fire area, or to bring drinking water to populations that have lost their water supply after a quake or hurricane.

A published article on this topic is at

The co-author of the article is the Dir. of Engineering at a major fire equipment company.

tyabblemons - 1 Feb 2014, 12:35 a.m.

I'm former volunteer firefighter, and ex-2nd Lt & Secretary of Tyabb Rural Fire Brigade, in Victoria, Australia. My wife and I are planning our retirement property, in the forests of the most fire-prone place on Earth. We're not building a house and barn and adding a fire protection system. We're building a fire protection system, and adding a house and barn. We will not use a fire-shelter. We propose to use inbuilt sprinklers, and a veranda on all four sides of the house. Something unusual we will do, is hang shadecloth from the veranda to protect the windows from radiant heat - the weakest link in the structure. I've seen this used very effectively, and it really works.

Research clearly shows that most houses in Victoria are ignited by the ember attack that occurs when the fire is still 2-3Km away. The ember attack is very strong, and dense, with burning bits of leaves and such. You can't see your hand in front of your face. I have experienced them as a firey. Would recommend surfing youtube for footage of an Australian ember attack.

I believe Steve Shoap's system of remotely controlled hose can shield a house and barn from ember attack. It produces an almost solid wall of water much higher than the roof of the house, although the fire-wind will have an affect on the curtain. I propose to use Steve's system to cool and filter embers before they reach the house and barn. If the embers manage to get past Steve's wall of water, then we still have sprinklers and shadecloth to block them. Now, this will use a lot of water, so I've made allowances for this in our plan. We will store twice the maximum recorded use ever of water by a property running sprinklers alone. We won't just rely on Steve's curtain. There will be hand-lines driven from a separate pump for redundancy.

Steve's system will also block radiant heat (not all) - a big asset for when the firefront does actually arrive. This can strongly mitigate the threat to the structures.

The hose can be deployed quickly, and controlled from within the relative safety of a structure. To be fair and balanced, I would like to see how the curtain performs under high wind conditions (always present at an Australian bushfire), but I am confident that good jet design will give it good punch into the wind. The curtain only has to shield to the height of the house and barn. I would expect the wind to blow water back onto the structures, supporting the sprinkler systems, and wetting down the shadecloth.

In summary, we propose to use Steve's remotely controlled hose system to protect our house and barn (our animals are important!) from an Australian bushfire. Some days here are 'catastrophic', and no amount of equipment can save a house. But most threats are during conditions that we can defend against - with the right gear. Steve has put a new twist into an old idea, and I like it very much.

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