Home & Property Wildfire Retardant


Home, Property and Community Wildfire Retardant

Aerial Bomber spraying the wildfire retardant Phos-Chek has been involved with the USDA Forest Service and the creation of fire fighting chemicals used throughout the world for over forty years. Originally part of the Monsanto in the late 1950’s, Phos-Chek has since evolved into a partnership with the USDA Forest Service and fire management agencies in other countries, as well. Furthering the safety and effectiveness of fire retardant technology has been the mission of Phos-Chek since its beginning-and it is biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and cyanide-free, making it the safest and most effective fire retardant in the market today.

Phos-Chek and Firebreak Protection Systems

Perimeter Being Sprayed - A Wildfire Protection System Phos-Chek, the effective and long lasting fire retardant used by the U.S. Forest Service and aerial bombers for decades, is now available to home and property owners for commercial and personal use. Featuring an easy-to-use spray system that is designed to drench the surrounding landscape in minutes, Phos-Chek creates your home or business with its very own defensible space of protection against future wildfire threats. This version does not contain the red dye commonly used by the Forest Service, so it sprays and dries clear-and will not damage your home and property. Phos-Chek is safe to use around people, plants, and animals, too!

An educational video about the phos-chek wildfire retardant.

Phos-Chek in the current news wire

> Below we have provided a testimony regarding the use and effectiveness of Phos-Chek’s long-term wildfire retardant to protect homes and other structures.


Retired Fire Chief & Incident Commander For The United States Forest Service and International Wildland Management

As I travel all over the United States and in other world areas, I often get asked if Phos-Chek (R) fire retardant is effective in protecting homes and other structures during wildfires. I have over forty years of experience in managing wildfires. During this time I have been involved in hundreds of wildland fire incidents. Many of these fire incidents occurred in the urban/wildland interface or intermix. Most of the more complex wildfire incidents require that actions be taken to protect homes, structures, and other items of value on both government and private lands. Fortunately, during many of these challenging incidents I was able to get air support from (helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft) by dropping Phos-Chek long-term fire retardants. In addition to enhancing my ability to establish miles of effective long-term retardant containment and control lines, in the wildlands, the air support also provided me with Phos-Chek retardant which I used as an effective resource to help protect homes and other structures that were at risk.

By applying a Phos-Chek long-term retardant barrier, on the vegetation adjacent to structures these improvements can be effectively protected. I can honestly say that I have personally witnessed many situations where hundreds of homes and structures have been saved and damages minimized by the using Phos-Chek long-term fire retardants during wildfire incidents. Phos-Chek provides long-term protection that retards the wildfire’s encroachment into unburned fuels allowing more time for ground resources to safely move-in and complete the control and mop-up processes.

Long-term retardant protection can last for many hours, days, and even weeks depending on the circumstances involved at the time of application. I have observed instances where the retardant application was effective for several months. In many cases wildfire control lines were held by Phos-Chek retardant without further requirement for ground action. I also frequently get asked why Phos-Chek works so much better than plain water, foam, and other suppressants.

Following is a brief explanation of a very complex process: Suppressants, such as water and foam, both rely solely on their contained water as the active ingredient for their fire suppression effectiveness. Once the water evaporates, either by solar radiation or by the wildfire induced radiation and convection, they no longer impact the wildfire’s progress so the fire is quickly up-and-running again as it was prior to coming in contact with the water yielding suppressants. Depending on the weather and the fire behavior conditions, the evaporation time for water is very short – ranging at best from 10 to 30 +/- minutes. Phos-Chek long-term retardant, on the other hand, does not rely on contained water for its effectiveness. The only reason that Phos-Chek retardant is applied as a water containing solution is to allow it to be mixed and applied to the fuels-at-risk (in this case cellulose containing vegetation). Phos-Chek retardants were developed, specifically, to retard fire in fuels that contain cellulose (grass, brush, trees, paper, lumber, etc.).

Most structures, in the urban/wildland interface or intermix, have cellulosic fuels in close proximity and in most cases are constructed with forest products such as lumber, cedar/redwood shakes, and many have wooden decks, porches and foundation support structures. These are the fuel types that Phos-Chek retardant was designed to protect from fire. The chemical structure of a molecule of cellulose is C6H10O5. When cellulosic fuels decompose (burn) they emit many volatile gases (ethane, propane, methane, butane, etc, etc, etc.) and many flammable oils and tars that actually carry the flames and cause rapid wildfire rate-of-spread. The same decomposition process applies to most structural components made from wood.

The components in Phos-Chek long-term retardants, when in contact with cellulosic fuels, actually change the decomposition process (burning) of these fuel types. When Phos-Chek retardant is present, the route of decomposition of cellulosic fuels is changed so that a highly temperature resistant graphite-like carbon ( C) char , and water (H2O) are formed rather than the flammable gases and tars that would otherwise result. Not only does the retardant alter the thermal decomposition to deprive it of fuel but the resultant water also cools adjacent fuels during this decomposition process. This reaction takes place if Phos-Chek retardant solution has been recently applied on the fuels or if it was applied weeks/months before and all of its contained water has already evaporated. Phos-Chek is effective as long as it physically remains on the fuels.

I have been very impressed with the effectiveness of Phos-Chek for many, many years. As I conduct my International consulting business around the Globe, I always recommend Phos-Chek retardants for the long-term fire protection in the urban/wildland interface and intermix, as well as on remote wildfire incidents, as it is the highest performing and most environmentally friendly product I have ever worked with.

George A. Roby International Consultant Arrowhead Wildfire 2000, Inc.


Image Credits and more Resources on the History of Wildfire Aerial Bombers, along with some real video clips of actual Aerial Bombers dropping the wildfire retardant

30 sweet drops from the legendary Conair Firecats.

Aerial Bomber spraying the wildfire retardantRetardant Drop,
of T-16
Aerial Bomber spraying the wildfire retardantFirst Air Tanker
Mendocino National Forest

Aerial Bomber spraying the wildfire retardantP3 Aircraft
Type 1
Still in Use
Aerial Bomber spraying the wildfire retardantCL215T Aircraft
Type 3
Still in Use

Fire retardant is dropped between Buehler’s Bluff and Imus Creek drainage. (Flick Creek Fire, 2006)
Credit: Chris Parsons

A Tanker 459 (AT-802) dropping the wildfire retardant near Ronan Mt Sept. 2006