On January 4, 2012, a date that I will remember for some time, our department (East Glacier Park Volunteer Fire Department) received a call from Browning Volunteer Fire Department for mutual aid assistance on a large grass fire. What began as a small grass fire turned out to be the largest wild land fire in Blackfeet history. After IC found out we had a batch mix of FireIce in the departments fast attack truck we were quickly dispatched to a rural community that was in the path of the raging fire. For awhile it seemed questionable whether or not we would even reach the area due to the strong winds driving the flames in different directions preventing us from moving forward. Through determination and team work we were able to arrive prior to the fire.
At this time the fire was extremely unpredictable, 40+ mph winds with gust up to 70 mph kept the fire screaming across the plains and jumping erratically around. After a quick review of the area and surrounding homes, understanding we were pressed for time, I determined that the immediate houses in the path of the fire needed to be coated and protected. Shortly thereafter, considering the weather conditions and frequent wind change, we were directed to leave the area. Fortunately we were able to coat a few homes in hopes of saving them from the fire.
Shortly after we were able to return to the area and inspect the homes we had sprayed with FireIce. Upon arrival, it was blatantly evident that this product far exceeded our expectations. The wind break bushes less than ten feet away from the houses were a blaze with flames yet the houses appeared totally uncompromised by the fire.
Members of the East Glacier Park Volunteer Fire Department including myself and other local volunteers were amazed at the efficiency and effectiveness of FireIce. The product batch we had utilized to coat these houses was mixed in the tank back in September of 2011 (4 months earlier). Even though we were told it wouldn’t gel up or go bad, many in our dept and Browning VFD were skeptical.
In my 22 years of fire fighting, I’ve never seen or come across a product that is as efficient as FireIce and I have used other commonly used suppression products such as foam, other gels and fire retardants. Our dept will be using FireIce on every structure and car fire that we respond to.
Fire Chief Ben Steele
East Glacier Park V.F.D.
East Glacier Park, Montana