Fire entinguishers for field

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kyled921

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So we had a flight go a little awry Saturday at our field and resulted in a small fire in some tall grass. Most of the fire appears to have been from the sparky motor and the rocket materials burning. Our club had H2O extinguishers at the pads, but they are somewhat heavy and the fire was about 50 yards away from the nearest extinguisher. I happened to be closer to the fire and used my ABC extinguisher from my car as a "first on scene" measure to help. I was later told that an ABC would provide no real substance to putting out the fire. Never really got an explanation as to why.

So is there a reason why an ABC extinguisher would not be of use for the type of situation listed above? Does the powder mix not have any effect on the propellant? Propellant is a self-sustaining ignition so really nothing would put the motor out. But would it not help to put out an on fire rocket body or the surrounding organic matter?

Just trying to clarify.
 

FredA

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Backyard "backpack" pump sprayer filled with water is probably the cheapest effective option.
That backed with a shovel.
 

KennB

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I can't see why an ABC extinguisher wouldn't be a good option for the fire you described (at least until the water could be brought to bear) but a tall grass fire occupies a lot of volume. The chemical extinguisher is great at smothering two-dimensional fires but would have trouble with tall grass as the only weapon.

CMASS has the backpack style pumps near our low power pads and high power pads. We also have fire brooms that work great on short grass fires. One of our members does volunteer forest fire fighting and trains us every couple of years.
 

kyled921

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I can't see why an ABC extinguisher wouldn't be a good option for the fire you described (at least until the water could be brought to bear) but a tall grass fire occupies a lot of volume. The chemical extinguisher is great at smothering two-dimensional fires but would have trouble with tall grass as the only weapon.

CMASS has the backpack style pumps near our low power pads and high power pads. We also have fire brooms that work great on short grass fires. One of our members does volunteer forest fire fighting and trains us every couple of years.
Understood. I figured it would have limited effect, but really my hope was to just provide as much suppression as I could once "FIRE!" was issued. When the call goes out, it seems like many people may have reacted like "Who's job is that? Don't want to be that guy". Most of our "old timers" are probably more than capable of getting out there with the safety equipment, but I don't mean to offend when I say it might take longer than expected. And I would think that dry brush and high heat takes very little time to escalate if conditions are right.
 

tightwad

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I always have two - 2 gallon pressurized water fire extinguishers at the pads when I launch. I picked them up at a surplus furniture store for $20 a piece. They are easy to use and can be refilled quickly and re-pressurized used by using a tire compressor. I also add an ounce of soap to the water, which changes the viscosity of the water and makes it penetrate better.

There is nothing wrong with an ABC extinguisher, or, you can use a backpack sprayer as mention previously. A two gallon yard sprayer would work also.
 

Bat-mite

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I know anything about suppression factor, but it is possible that landowners might not want any chemicals other than H2O dumped on their fields.
 

Zeus-cat

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Our club has several of the backpack sprayers. We also keep 4 gallons of water in old milk jugs at the LCO table. Our high power field has a stream near the pads that supplies as much water as we would need. We also have two flappers (long pole with a thick rubber flap at one end) that works very well for smothering burning grass.

Most of the fires I have seen at launches were caused by sparkies. I like sparkies, but put me in the category of they should only be used under the proper conditions.
 

boatgeek

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Our club sets up several stations with a fire rake and flapper near the pads, plus several of the pump sprayers close to hand near the LCO. In low dry grass and sagebrush, the flappers work really well, and the water comes after to soak any embers. At the Memorial Day launch, I had three or four runs out there, both for sparkies and a rash of CATOs.
 

SaturnV

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The problem I have decided cardinal - the engine is aluminum and does not burn. The rocket is either aluminum or coated with epoxy and also does not burn . benefits and relatively low-temperature fuel potassium nitrate and sugar. And seeks at least in place around the start there is no grass.The ideal field to start is either desert or after the field is plowed by a tractor.Or to start after rain.Naturally the car got a fire extinguisher but will hardly help if ignited some dry grass burning like gunpowder.However, the problem is very serious. If kindle a large field of wheat will not be able to repay the rest of my life :) Fortunately, now the wheat is harvested :)
 
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thomas

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An ABC fire extinguisher works on grass, it is not the first choice because it does not extingiuish the embers, but its better than nothing.
Btw. the powder is a pretty good fertilizer, so nothing to worry about.

I use now a training fire extinguisher, you can fill it with water and then put pressure on it with a compressor or a byclye pump.
This has the huge advantage that it cost you nothing if the extingusiher is used. So nobody hestiates to use it.
Here you can see one in use, sorry the voice is german:
[video=youtube;ZxqEfaybT6w]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxqEfaybT6w[/video]
 
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SaturnV

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This green lawn that I think it's quite humid and you can not get lit even 5 gallons benziin. However, any dry grass or wheat .. there and all fire service Los Angeles will not help especially. This is very important to choose a suitable place for launch. It is 99% from safety.Other 0.9% is rocket and engine be designed so as not to cause a fire. And 0.1% depends on what extinguisher you have:)According to my humble opinion.
 
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SaturnV

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[video=youtube;mLXUQKYCOAc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLXUQKYCOAc[/video]
Here explosion of an experimental engine in a plastic tube. Plowed field after rain. It can not ignite anything. Never engine of something burning and weak.
 

cbrarick

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Original question:

ABC extinguishers are really designed for a nice trash can fire. The powder really won't penetrate most tall grasses, so all you really do is a little suppression.
Water cans are ok, better then that but quickly loose the ability to get into the burning grass (small volume of compressed air, expanding as water is used, pressure drops quickly)
then best is what we call an "Indian tank" which are those things you pump to make the water come out. 5 gallons with pressure all the way to the end.

We've also seen posts about brooms and that's a great idea, as well as leaf rakes as a method of putting out fire (you rake the burning bits back into where ever is already burnt.)
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Yes the ABC will work on grass fires, but like a few have mentioned it isn't the best choice. If someone can't give me a reason why, then I usually question that person's wisdom. That individual likely was a know-it-all and just wanted to act like he knew more than you, or he was butt hurt because he didn't think of it. You provided fire suppression and at least helped. Did that person assist in any way?

Tall grass and sparkies don't mix. If a sparkie is flying, have someone ready with the suppression equipment. If the flyer has folks with him, they would be perfect candidates. We don't fly sparkies at all, too big of a risk.

A towel soaking in a bucket of water works decent on grass fires, grab the towel and open it up to lay on the fire.
 

kyled921

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Thanks for the replies all. I'm going to get the extinguisher refilled later this week for my own uses, but I'll look into more man-portable options to have on hand. I like the H2O towel idea since it is inexpensive, I have some bed sheets lying around, and always have a cooler at the field. Also, having a towel is a good idea anyways: Don't Panic.
 

cbrarick

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no, towels aren't good ideas. You gotta get too close to make it happen. Good for small fires, such as a frying pan, but not somewhere you have winds that shift around. Don't take grass fires for granted, they hurt LOTS of firefighters. It's anther lesson we've learned in blood.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FS316VQ/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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MikeyDSlagle

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If one is smart enough to be in this hobby, I would think he/she is smart enough not to fight a large fire with a wet towel, or rake or rubber flapper for that matter. If you get close enough to use a rake, you are close enough for the towel. Flop it open onto the fire. It could help contain the fire until someone man ups and straps on around 50 lbs of water in a backpack and lugs it out to the grassfire. If the fire is that darn big, you're better off using a cell phone.
 

cbrarick

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If one is smart enough to be in this hobby, I would think he/she is smart enough not to fight a large fire with a wet towel, or rake or rubber flapper for that matter. If you get close enough to use a rake, you are close enough for the towel. Flop it open onto the fire. It could help contain the fire until someone man ups and straps on around 50 lbs of water in a backpack and lugs it out to the grassfire. If the fire is that darn big, you're better off using a cell phone.
OK, I give, you know more then me. I've only got 35 years of firefighting experience, both civilian and in the navy. Wonder why we don't use wet towels.....Maybe I can ask chief to put a wet towel dispenser in our new attack piece......



Alright, just joking. Do what you want, don't get burned!
 

Zeus-cat

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And remember, grass and crop residue fires generate lots of smoke. In open fields winds can shift quickly and people can find themselves in a cloud of smoke or surrounded by fire. Breathing and vision can be quickly impaired. If the fire is not quickly contained it can get beyond your control very fast. Get people out of harms way and call for help.
 

soopirV

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Thanks for the replies all. I'm going to get the extinguisher refilled later this week for my own uses, but I'll look into more man-portable options to have on hand. I like the H2O towel idea since it is inexpensive, I have some bed sheets lying around, and always have a cooler at the field. Also, having a towel is a good idea anyways: Don't Panic.
The towel could be supplemented by the Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses...
 
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