In Elections

John D Tucak Independent Candidate

Armadale State By-Election 2 October 2010

An Original Concept To Control Major Bushfires

Victor P Taffa

The Time For A Cool Change Campaign

The devastation and tragedy caused by major bushfires such as those in Victoria and more recently the Toodyay bush fire are a concern for all of us, particularly for the families living near large forestry areas.

So, with respect for the fire fighters and F.E.S.A (Fire and Emergency Services)., I will present a possible strategy to control major bush fires, when extreme conditions prevail and appear to approach the limit of ground crew control.

While watching the televised reports in November 2008 on the progress of fire fighters in California to control the ‘Wild fires’ in the mountain terrain around Los Angeles driven by extreme weather conditions, it occurred to me that they should be using industrial or large scale quantities of ‘Dry Ice’ delivered by heavy freight air craft.

The advantage of ‘Dry Ice’ Solid CO2 is that it changes from a solid state to a heavier than gas state when heated.  At normal atmospheric pressure it does not have a liquid state, yet it has the ability to extinguish a common fire by depleting the oxygen supply.

Unlike water or water based solutions which can readily soak into the soil beneath it CO2 can continue to roll down a mountain, a hill, or a steep gully that is often inaccessible to fire fighters, and possibly still extinguish a common fire.

The deployment of an aircraft like the ‘Hercules’ C-130 would enable a 40 tonne bulk load of ‘Dry Ice’ to extinguish ‘Hot Spots’ and allow fire fighters to regain control on the ground.

40 Tonnes is also the approximate maximum weight capacity for one road train.

However, the conversion ‘sublimation’ rate calculated by Professor Kevin Wainwright of Flinders University, South Australia is astounding.

The delivery of 40 tonnes of ‘Dry Ice’ to a hot bush fire converts to 23 Million Litres of carbon-dioxide in one load.  This a huge contrast to an average load delivered by air craft currently engaged in fire fighting of 3 to 5 tonnes of water per load.

Ms. Catherine Baldwin of BOC, a commercial supplier of CO2 advised that the current bulk price for CO2 is $1.39 per kg. In liquid state 5 times atmospheric pressure or 5,000 KPA.

Some large buildings, particularly data centres with expensive computer servers and electronic equipment have storage tanks of liquid CO2 on site in place of water sprinkler systems which would damage the electronic equipment if activated.

Storage tanks of liquid CO2 are also used utilised on some mine sites for fire control.  In recent years this was used to extinguish an underground fire at a mine site in NSW.

It appears that liquid CO2 is easier to manufacture and transport in bulk.  However, a purpose built facility could be engineered at an airport to further compress the liquid by 30% to solid ‘Dry Ice’ pellets carrying more weight.

This extra weight of ‘Dry Ice’ would enable more accurate delivery to the targeted ‘Hot Spot’ on the ground in extreme conditions.

I believe that a major bushfire requires a major industrial response to ensure that efforts of fire fighters on the ground are successful and that containment can be achieved with less risk.

If this strategy is successful, perhaps the Insurance Council of Australia could be interested in contributing to the operational costs.


On Saturday 2nd October 2010

Armadale State By-Election

Written and authorised by John D. Tucak Independent Candidate 54 Towton Way, Langford WA 6147.

Responsibility for Election Comment

Under the provisions of the relevant Electoral Act responsibility for all election comment is assumed by Editor Victor P Taffa. The Registered office of The Southern Thunderer is at 4/69a Darvall Road, West Ryde NSW 2114.


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