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November/December 2023 | Nontethelelo Ramantswana

Using water mist technology to fight forest fires

Fire management

Fire protection

EmiControls is a company that produces turbine technology which is used for firefighting. The turbines use a propeller to effectively apply a water mist which can cool and extinguish a fire. The turbine atomizes the water into a fine mist. Compared to conventional water based methods, fire extinguishing turbines produce smaller droplets that are sprayed using propellers. The advantage of these smaller droplets is that they create a larger water surface area and thus a larger heat absorption surface. The fine mist also has a lower sedimentation rate and can easily envelop burning objects. In this way, it often reaches hidden fire sources that are inaccessible to the conventional extinguishing jet. For forestry applications in firefighting, the turbine can be used on a mobile unit either remote controlled or mounted on a 4x4 fire truck.

Application in forest fires
In the case of forest fires, EmiControl’s firefighting turbines reduce water consumption due to the mist dispersion technology. The nozzles on the turbine atomize the water into a fine water mist, which covers a more significant area using less water. By using water mist, the amount of water in the fire truck tank is able to fight the fire over a much bigger area. This is important as certain areas may not have water replenishing sources available unless additional water is made available using extra vehicles like bulk tankers. The firefighting turbine can be mounted on a 4x4 fire truck for use in fighting forest fires. This means that firefighters can reach the source of the fire very quickly, even over rough terrain, and can prevent further outbreaks. EmiControl firefighting turbines can also work with fire retardant materials. Since the turbine has an angle of inclination of between -20 and +50° degrees, and can also rotate 360°, it is also possible to target the source of the fire more efficiently than from the air.

Advantages of using firefighting turbines for forest fires
• Water mist has a high cooling effect,
• Water mist technology, the turbine saves water compared to conventional methods.
• Sources of fire can be better targeted because the turbine can incline and tilt
• The combination of a 4x4 offroad vehicle and turbine allows firefighters to make progress even over rough terrain
• The turbine is particularly suitable for preventing the spread of flames from the forest to urban areas
• The turbine can be used to spread retarder optimally

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