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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Aug 28 09:43 PM

August 29th, 2015: Foiled Forest Fire

You'd have to be Rip Van Winkle to not be aware of the plague of fires in the western states, due to shifted weather patterns, and drought. The US Forest service can't protect critical remote, often historical, structures, without clearing a wide swath of forest around them. That would be expensive and impractical.

NEZ PERCE, Idaho – Officials with the National Forest Service are protecting lookouts and cabins across the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest from wildfire activity in a rather strange way. Officials said they have wrapped the structures in foil to protect them. Forest Service officials estimated that a roll of the multiple-ply foil costs $398. They also used duct tape to seal the foil, and often line rocks at the bottom to hold it down.
And no WD-40.

Forest Service crews began using the foil in the late 1980s to protect historic cabins and lookout towers that cannot be replaced. They called the success rate of Shelterwrap "tremendous" in Idaho.
I kind of think it looks like a foiled potato ready for the campfire, but I guess that works out.

Snakeadelic  Saturday Aug 29 08:47 AM

Am I the only one having evil thoughts about filling a cabin with popcorn kernels before wrapping it? (Yes, I've seen Real Genius too many times...)

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 29 04:28 PM

Great idea, and you'd likely get away with it because the NSA mind control devices couldn't penetrate the foil.

mrputter  Saturday Aug 29 08:28 PM

...and this... works??

I mean, obviously it does (to some extent) otherwise they wouldn't be committing the resources and going to the hassle of doing it. But it surprises me!

The cabin is still made of wood underneath, and the tinfoil isn't going to be a particularly great thermal insulator, so clearly the wood inside will still heat up past its ignition point, the same as if it weren't wrapped in tinfoil.

So... is it the fact that it's a gas barrier, so the wood doesn't have enough oxygen to ignite? I'm rather curious about the science behind this!

mrputter  Saturday Aug 29 08:34 PM


Nevermind... after a spot of googling, I found another link that goes into some {more|slightly different} detail. It’s not just plain ol’ tinfoil, but rather “Aluminized Structure Wrap.”

This latter material does in fact provide thermal insulation and indeed is claimed to reflect 95% of radiant heat.


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 29 10:13 PM

Damnit, I had looked for the details on that stuff. From the link in the first post I followed a daisy chain of sites that mostly quoted each other, and saw it called Thermawrap and Shelterwrap, which looked like brands, and aluminized structure wrap which didn't. I kept ending up with the stuff you insulate attics with to reflect infrared and give your A/C a break.

Then mrputter's post gave me hope, so I went to the link and ended up in another daisy chain but eventually I found it at Firezat. I grab a picture and the information, come back here and what's that? mrputter has a second link? Sure enough, it takes me directly to where I found the information. I'm not a smart man.

Oh, along the way I found this on fireproofing wood buildings with Sodium Silicate on Angelfire. Told you I was in a daisy chain, including the roots.

But here it is, or at least one of them.

Looks like a heavy aluminum foil is glued to what's probably fiberglass cloth, then sewn together with Kevlar thread. Belt and suspenders.

FloridaDragon  Sunday Sep 20 12:13 AM

Question ... how does the foil help when the propane tank in the foreground blows ? Just saying ....

Gravdigr  Sunday Sep 20 02:27 PM

Nit picker.

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Sep 27 07:46 AM

They moved it, along with everything else not tied down. I saw a picture of the site with the cabin wrapped and the site cleaned up, somewhere in the zillion sites I was hopping around trying to find what mrputter's link would have taken right to.

Your reply here?

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