“Once there is smoke in the air, options are very limited,” says Bushey. A sprinkler system might sound like a good first line of defense. But sprinklers depend on plenty of water, in short supply during a drought, and electricity, often shut down once a wildfire hits an area.
So inventors have come up with ingenious alternatives, from automatic systems that cover homes in foam to user-friend spray systems that dispense fire-killing gel to giant rolls of fire-resistant wrap that can seal a house like a steak in the freezer.
The evocatively named FireIce is one of the newer products on the market, sold by Florida-based GelTech Solutions. It starts as a powder that is mixed with water and power-sprayed onto whatever needs protecting.
The material was originally developed for an entirely different purpose, says company co-founder Peter Cordani.
So the story goes, Cordani says he was looking for a gel that could be sprayed into hurricanes to reduce their strength; instead, the recipe turned out to be incredibly fire-resistant. He routinely demonstrates the product by dipping his hand in a bucket of gel and then applying a blowtorch.
“If you were trapped in a burning building, you could get sprayed with this and protected for the minutes it might take to get you out,” he says.