Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > FS sued over use of fire retardant
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 9:40 am 
https://wildfiretoday.com/2022/10/12/environmental-group-files-lawsuit-against-us-forest-service-over-use-of-fire-retardant/ The suit says government data released earlier this year showed more than 760,000 gallons of fire retardant was dropped into waterways between 2012 and 2019. The lawsuit alleges the continued use of retardant from aircraft violates the Clean Water Act and requests a judge to declare the pollution illegal.

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Schroder
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 9:50 am 
I thought fire retardant was used as a last resort, mostly because of its cost. It will be interesting to see the property losses if this suit prevails.

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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 10:14 am 
What is on the slurry? It started as a pretty simple mixture, a simple detergent, some betonite and a fertilizer. Guess that is not so anymore

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Snowshovel
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 10:17 am 
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jinx'sboy
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 10:43 am 
This is sort of wash, rinse, repeat…. As the article says, this ground was all plowed 10 years ago, which resulted in an EIS - that established the current ‘buffers’ on fish bearing streams. I think those have largely worked, but not 100%, of course. There are currently several retardants on the market - different ones are used. They are pretty basic; a slurry, some coloring, a thickener and a surfactant to make them spread out on vegetation surfaces. There is also a suite of other slurries and gels - used mostly by helicopter, or applied by ground engines. All of that stuff is mildly caustic. If you get it on you, it is a minor irritant. But it is really bad for fish - hence the buffers… As the article - and the follow-on comments from fire folks point out - the arguments about whether or not retardants work, or are worth the costs, are never ending.

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Snowshovel
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 11:05 am 
The bellyaching in BC when the Mars were grounded or by Lars Larson when the several iterations of 747 tankers weren’t contracted was epic. Retardants are almost 100% ground based plane dropped, helicopter and amphibians drop water?

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 11:12 am 
Does EPA or anybody else regulate what can and can't go into retardant?

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jinx'sboy
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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 11:19 am 
Snowshovel wrote:
Retardants are almost 100% ground based plane dropped, helicopter and amphibians drop water?
Some helicopters, usually larger ones, do have the capability to inject foam, gels or slurry into the water they pick up. That, of course, further complicates what happens to the water source. (although, often, these larger helicopters are dipping out of a tank, rather than directly from a pond or river). Not sure about the amphibian planes - for some reason I thought they had the ability to inject foam, as well.

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PostFri Oct 14, 2022 11:31 am 
Further info on the chemicals and FS policies, etc https://www.fs.usda.gov/rm/fire/wfcs/wildland-fire-chemicals.php ‘Phoscheck’ and ‘Thermogel’ are two that have been around for a long time, but there are many others, now. Info on 2011 Interagency EIS (referred to above) and related documents: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/chemicals hope that helps

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treeswarper
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PostThu Oct 20, 2022 9:34 pm 
Isn't this deja vu all over again? I thought there was a lawsuit about retardent already done about a zillion years ago.

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PostThu Oct 20, 2022 9:37 pm 
obviously somebody thought we needed some more lawsuits! up.gif

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PostThu Oct 20, 2022 10:51 pm 
Already have buffer zones around waterways. They are alleging they are not effective and will sue for what remedy?

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PostFri Oct 21, 2022 8:41 am 
treeswarper wrote:
Isn't this deja vu all over again? I thought there was a lawsuit about retardent already done about a zillion years ago.
You're probably remembering the Whidbey Island AFB one, where PFAs penetrated the local water supply.

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Oct 21, 2022 3:28 pm 
PowderPawn wrote:
Already have buffer zones around waterways.
The suit says government data released earlier this year showed more than 760,000 gallons of fire retardant was dropped into waterways between 2012 and 2019.

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PostFri Oct 21, 2022 4:17 pm 
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