Two Arizona Animal Rescue Organizations Deploying PHOS-CHEK® Fire Retardant as Defense Against Nearby Wildfires
Novel Approach to Proactive Protection Seen as ‘Next Step’ in Creating Defensible Space for Animals that Must Shelter-in-Place
Perimeter Solutions announced that two of central Arizona’s best known animal rescue organizations are employing a new approach to protecting their facilities and the animals they house, by using the same technology employed by the USDA Forest Service to slow the onslaught of wildfire in what is one of Arizona’s worst fire seasons in memory. The Arizona Equine Rescue Organization (AERO), specializing in rescue and rehabilitation of horses and the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center that shelters and cares for over a dozen animal species, will be applying Perimeter Solutions’ PHOS-CHEK® LC95W Fire Retardant on their respective properties in early July. PHOS-CHEK LC95W is a ground applied version of the fire retardant best known as ‘that red stuff’ used around the world in aerial firefighting operations. The fire retardant, which will be applied on vegetation and on vulnerable facilities, is designed to make each less likely to burn if contacted by flying embers. The two organizations, which has extensive experience supporting Arizona firefighting organizations with fire-related animal rescue, house hundreds of animals, many of which are not suited for evacuation. Both organizations look on the proactive use of ground applied fire retardant as a demonstration project for property owners in an area that is home to thousands of difficult-to-evacuate animals.
According to Wes Bolsen, Director of Wildfire Prevention for Perimeter Solutions, preventative ground application of fire retardant is increasingly being seen as an added element of preparation for what are increasingly dangerous and unpredictable fire seasons in many portions of the United States. “The devastation caused by wildfire is so complete that we need to do everything we can to stop its ignition and spread. Creating defensible space by smart management of vegetation is an important concept in preparing properties and communities for a wildfire situation. We look at preventative ground application of a long-term fire retardant in advance of wildfire conditions as one more tool in the defensible space toolbox,” he said. “At Perimeter, we talk about ‘protecting the things you can’t afford to lose’. I think Soleil Dolce from AERO and Linda Searles from Southwest Wildlife Conservation show their commitment and vision in seeking out new solutions to protect their animals and their community from wildfire,” he added.
A Commitment to Protecting Large Animals & Wildlife
Soleil Dolce, Vice President of AERO has been involved with the equine rescue and rehabilitation organization since 2003. AERO is a highly specialized health center for rescue horses that require intensive medical care – often lasting between 9 and 18 months. Currently, the facility is housing more than 20 horses on its 5-acre property. One of AERO’s key activities centers on emergency livestock services to police and fire departments across the state, which is how she became involved with the effects of wildfire on animals. “We’re in a community that has a large number of livestock in a small area. Fires move rapidly, which makes it difficult to get animals out. I had been researching solutions for fire prevention on the Web and I ran into PHOS-CHEK. It matched what we were looking for since it is approved for use by the USDA Forest Service, it’s a long-term fire retardant that is environmentally friendly and it stores well, so we can apply it year over year,” she said.
Neighbor Linda Searle is Executive Director/Research for 25-year old Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. With additional livestock and an influx of baby animals during ‘orphan season’ the 10-acre property is currently home to nearly 400 animals ranging from the endangered Mexican Grey Wolf to bobcats, bears, mountain lions and a striped skunk named Roger who works as an education animal. Searle wants extra protection for her compound because nearby neighbors have a difficult time cutting back the vegetation that becomes fuel for wildfires and flying embers. “Some of the properties are quite large and either for economic or conservation reasons the owners don’t always do the best job of creating defensible space. Some of my pens run right up to the property line and I was looking for a way to protect our property,” she said of her interest in fire retardant technology.
The plan for both groups is to apply an initial spraying of PHOS-CHEK at critical areas around their properties – and then hold some back in case of further need down the road. PHOS-CHEK LC95W offers easy, rapid application and durable protection over the length of a typical fire season.
About the project, says Dolce: “We want to become an example for the community to demonstrate different ways you can do fire protection – even in times like this year, where high winds are causing ember jumps of 300 feet. We’d like to encourage other property owners and even the Arizona Department of Transportation to engage in the kind of proactive preventative measures that fire retardant can provide,” she said.
More info: www.perimeter-solutions.com.