Aerial fire retardants are dropped from air tankers and helicopters during wildfires to quickly construct firelines and allow ground crews to move into position. As wildfires have continued to grow in frequency and veracity, aerial applied fire retardants have become an integral part of firefighting, seeing a continual increase in utilization over the past two decades.
Aerial retardants must be effective for direct attack, where retardant is applied directly along the burning edge of an advancing fire, and for indirect attack, where fire containment lines are built a significant distance from the fire. Because of their unique chemical properties, Fortress retardants have distinct technical advantages in both scenarios.
Our first-generation aerial formulations have recently passed the full battery of laboratory tests performed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) at its Missoula facilities, making Fortress the only new entrant in over two decades to achieve placement on the USFS Qualified Products List (QPL). Forest Service testing has shown a marked improvement in burn reduction index and fish toxicity over conventional ammonium phosphate retardants, while demonstrating negligible corrosiveness and negligible material alterations to non-metallics. Pending our field evaluation in 2021, Fortress fire retardants are qualified for use with large airtankers, Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS), and helicopters with buckets.