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Wildland FAQ

Product Questions

  •  Is FireIce a retardant or suppressant?

FireIce is both a suppressant and short-term retardant.  Aerially delivered product in airtankers can be used for direct attack, point protection and indirect / parallel line.  Ground applied product in engines can be used for suppression, mop-up, structure protection, and wet-lining.
  •  How long will FireIce last once applied?

The duration of FireIce effectiveness is dependent on weather conditions and viscosity.  More viscous FireIce will last longer than less viscous, and is recommended for structure protection.  Humidity, temperature, and wind will all affect drying times.  In general, FireIce will last from anywhere from 1 hour in the most extreme conditions to 48 hours in cooler, more humid environments.

  • Are FireIce products environmentally safe?

GelTech Solutions develops and offers only environmentally safe, non-toxic and non-corrosive products. FireIce products are phosphate and ammonia free, and contain no harmful or corrosive chemicals.

  •  Is FireIce safe for aquatic ecosystems?

FireIce has been tested by the USFS and is deemed to be non-toxic in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.  Accidental and intentional water intrusions have had no negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

  •  What is weight per-mixed-gallon of FireIce?

FireIce weighs negligibly more than water; water is 8.35 lbs. per gallon, and mixed FireIce is approximately 8.45 lbs. per gallon.

  •  Is FireIce safer than Long Term Retardant?

Research has shown that FireIce is environmentally safer than long-term retardant, especially in aquatic ecosystems.  FireIce concentrate is also 90% lighter than long-term retardant.  In a DC-10 Very Large Airtanker, that is over 10,000 lbs.!

  •  What is the difference between FireIce and other water enhancers / gels?

FireIce is a highly refined, cross-lined polyacrylate copolymer.  GelTech developed a specialized manufacturing process to improve hydration time, consistency, penetration, and adhesion compared to all other gels on the market.  The copolymer is also significantly more durable than linear polymer gels.

  •  What colorants are available?

FireIce is available uncolored, and in one-part and two-part orange and blue fugitive colorants.  The colorants were developed to be timed to the effectiveness of the product; when a pilot can no longer see the line, then it is no longer effective.

  •  What happens if residual long-term retardant becomes mixed with FireIce?

The amount of fire chemical left in airtankers after a drop varies by aircraft, but it is generally a negligible amount.  Research has shown there is no noticeable impact to the quality of FireIce when loaded into an airtanker that used long-term retardant. 


Mixing & Application Questions

  •  Does water quality and temperature affect viscosity and mix ratios?

Yes; water temperature, salinity, pH, chlorine, and mineral content can all slightly affect mix ratios.  Unlike Long Term Retardant products, which require exact mix ratios for the corrosion inhibitors to be effective, FireIce mix ratios are variable and are mixed to finished viscosity, not to a percentage.
  •  Can I use a refractometer for quality control testing?

No; there is no salt content in FireIce, so refractometers will not show any meaningful readings. Viscosity testing using a marsh funnel is the recommended method for quality control.

  •  Can FireIce be batch mixed in a baffled tank?

Yes; FireIce can be mixed in a baffled tank.  It is recommended that the discharge and suction ports be plumbed into different baffles for maximum circulation.

  •  Can FireIce be used with any nozzle? 

When FireIce is batch mixed at the recommended viscosities, it is compatible with all standard fog, straight stream, adjustable and most (but not all) automatic nozzles. 

  •  Will FireIce powder or gel corrode or damage equipment? 

No; FireIce is non-corrosive and has been tested by Pierce, a premier apparatus manufacturer, and found to be safe for pumps, fittings and other equipment. It has also been tested on plastics, rubbers and many other metals (including UL testing of the FireIce Fire Extinguisher) and found to be non-corrosive. 

  •  Will FireIce affect the float gauges in airtankers or engines?

FireIce has been tested on a variety of floats and will not affect their functionality or readings.


Storage Questions

  •  How long can FireIce dry powder concentrates be stored for?

FireIce buckets have a maintenance-free shelf life of 15 years, when stored in a cool, dry area. Liquid gel concentrates often require strict maintenance / shaking procedures at least every 6 months.

  •  How long can batch mixed FireIce products be stored for?

Once FireIce is batch mixed, the product will be effective so long as it is maintained at proper viscosity levels. Product should be tested for quality control as evaporation and UV light exposure may affect viscosity and product quality. 

  •  Does FireIce fall out of suspension when mixed? How often do I need to recirculate FireIce?

FireIce will not fall out of suspension when mixed. When batch mixed and stored, it is normal for a small amount free-water to develop on top.  A brief recirculation will remove the free-water.
  •  There is some orange sludge at the bottom of the mix tank when mixing FireIce HVO-F.  What is it?

When mixing large quantities of FireIce HVO-F, it is normal for some sludge to develop at the bottom of the tank.  This is from the orange colorant that is added to the product; it is safe to scoop out of the tank.  Cone bottom tanks will not have this issue, and are recommended for tanker bases whenever possible.

  •  The FireIce HVO-F has some foam on the top of the tank when mixing.  Is that normal?

Yes; it is normal for some foam to develop on the top of the tank due to the agitation of the mixing process.  It is recommended that some room be left on the top for the foam.  Anti-foaming agents may affect product quality and are NOT recommended.
  •  Will FireIce gel freeze?

Yes; FireIce freezes at the same temperature of water, however it takes much longer to do so. FireIce® gel that has frozen and thawed remains fully effective, though it should be recirculated.

  •  Can FireIce overwinter in mixed storage?

FireIce can overwinter and be used again after being mixed however it will freeze so be sure to empty valves and leave room to expand.