Great balls of fire: new technology helps fight fire with fire - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Great balls of fire: new technology helps fight fire with fire

Posted: Updated:
LOLO -

In the course of fighting wildland fires, effective new technologies have been created to take on the flames.

One device, known as a ping-pong or dragon ball, is being deployed right now in Montana.

These are also known as plastic sphere dispensers.

Mike Cole, the Fire Public Information Officer, said that the dispensers are really useful to fight forest fires, especially in inaccessible areas.

Cole said the Lolo Peak Fire, which you can see right behind me is one of the perfect areas to use these resources.

The dispensers are filled with chemicals that create a heat reaction, which are dropped from a helicopter.  "The balls hit the ground and the fire starts inside the ball and melts the ball. That's the same as if you were lighting a match in a patch of grass. So there will be a little string of those lines on the hillside and those are the ones that will eventually back down the hill, join together, and create that black," said Cole.

Cole said that the purpose of the dispensers with the Lolo Peak Fire is to keep the fire from coming over the top of the Bitterroot Divide and down into the Bitterroot Valley.

He said that the dispensers create their own backing fire, which allows a low intensity fire to keep ahead of the main fire.

"That creates a big black area between the top of the ridge a down the slope, so if a fire comes rolling up here like it did the other day it will run to that black and there's nothing left to burn. It will go out by itself," Cole said.

Cole explained that there is a certified operator in the helicopter that dispenses these balls into the fire.

This operation can be dangerous because it creates fires, so it must be done by a professional.  

Mike said that they plan on using these dispensers every day for the Lolo Peak Fire.

He said that they use them in the morning because that is when the fire is less active and the smoke is most visible.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Missing person reported in Flathead County

    Missing person reported in Flathead County

    Friday, July 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-07-20 13:33:44 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-07-20 13:33:44 GMT

    Sheriff Chuck Curry says Alex Ruth Beltran was last seen driving her 1998 Light Green Toyota Rav 4, with Montana plate 785019A.

    Sheriff Chuck Curry says Alex Ruth Beltran was last seen driving her 1998 Light Green Toyota Rav 4, with Montana plate 785019A.

  • Flushing acid down the toilet: lab cleanup forces US 287 shutdown and town evacuation

    Flushing acid down the toilet: lab cleanup forces US 287 shutdown and town evacuation

    Friday, July 20 2018 1:08 AM EDT2018-07-20 05:08:06 GMT
    Missoula County Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team preparing for action. July 17, 2018. Photo credit: EPAMissoula County Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team preparing for action. July 17, 2018. Photo credit: EPA

    Some of the chemicals at the lab in Norris were so volatile that the risk of transporting them was too great, and experts decided to do a controlled detonation at the site of the lab.

    Some of the chemicals at the lab in Norris were so volatile that the risk of transporting them was too great, and experts decided to do a controlled detonation at the site of the lab.

  • Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Friday, January 9 2015 6:52 PM EST2015-01-09 23:52:03 GMT
    Saturday, January 10 2015 4:33 PM EST2015-01-10 21:33:06 GMT
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
  • Libby fire burning 1.5 miles away from WR Grace vermiculite mine

    Libby fire burning 1.5 miles away from WR Grace vermiculite mine

    Friday, July 20 2018 11:53 AM EDT2018-07-20 15:53:59 GMT
    photo courtesy: John Blodgett, The Western Newsphoto courtesy: John Blodgett, The Western News

    Kootenai National Forest officials say multiple agencies responded Thursday when the fire started. The fire is 1.5 miles away from the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, and it's a high priority to keep the fire away from the old mine.

    Kootenai National Forest officials say multiple agencies responded Thursday when the fire started. The fire is 1.5 miles away from the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, and it's a high priority to keep the fire away from the old mine.

  • Montana quadriplegic athlete's camper trailer stolen in Utah

    Montana quadriplegic athlete's camper trailer stolen in Utah

    Friday, July 20 2018 12:47 PM EDT2018-07-20 16:47:52 GMT
    Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)
    Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)

    A paraglider and athlete from Missoula reported that his pull-along camper was stolen in Utah. Joe Stone travels around the country competing in triathlons, paragliding and doing outreach for people with disabilities. 

    A paraglider and athlete from Missoula reported that his pull-along camper was stolen in Utah. Joe Stone travels around the country competing in triathlons, paragliding and doing outreach for people with disabilities. 

  • Scott Street to close through September for water main installation

    Scott Street to close through September for water main installation

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 2:46 PM EDT2018-07-17 18:46:13 GMT

    Starting on July 23, residents of the north side of Missoula may have to take detours on their commute as workers begin installing a new water main.  Knife River Estimator & Project Manager Justin Hubbard said in a press release that the installation of a water main will require a detour of Scott Street that will last through September 7.

    Starting on July 23, residents of the north side of Missoula may have to take detours on their commute as workers begin installing a new water main.  Knife River Estimator & Project Manager Justin Hubbard said in a press release that the installation of a water main will require a detour of Scott Street that will last through September 7.

  • Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Friday, July 13 2018 6:49 PM EDT2018-07-13 22:49:39 GMT

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

  • Police say Jermain Charlo disappearance could be kidnapping

    Police say Jermain Charlo disappearance could be kidnapping

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 1:58 PM EDT2018-07-17 17:58:15 GMT

    MISSOULA - Police released new information and new photos showing what Jermain Charlo was wearing before she disappeared on June 16 in Missoula. Det. Guy A. Baker said Tuesday that police are still searching for the woman, who was last seen near downtown Missoula late that Saturday night. 

    MISSOULA - Police released new information and new photos showing what Jermain Charlo was wearing before she disappeared on June 16 in Missoula. Det. Guy A. Baker said Tuesday that police are still searching for the woman, who was last seen near downtown Missoula late that Saturday night. 

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.