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Firefighting bombs

Good practice, plus uses more bombs.
  [vote for,

Recently many things have caught on fire. Various means are used to control these fires. I propose that for the large wildfires, bombs might be a useful adjunct.

Anyone who has watched the news over the past several years has been impressed with the fact that bombs make deep holes. Dirt does not burn. Bombers could be used to drop bombs and dig big holes along the front of a fire. Given that bombs sometimes catch things on fire, these should be the "bunker busters", designed to tunnel deep before exploding.

Immediately behind this bomber, on the fireward side, a second bomber should fly along dropping white phosphorus bombs just ahead of the fire. This burns hot, and will completely consume all flammables as well as the oxyen in the surrounding area, thus arresting the fire.

All of this without a single person on the ground.

bungston, Oct 30 2003

Dry Ice Bombs http://www.halfbake..._20Fire_20Retardant
st3f's approach. I think the phosphoprus is superior to the dry ice - dry ice simply displaces - white phosphorus consumes. [bungston, Oct 06 2004]

Hydrogen depletes Oxygen http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0009014
[Willie333, Oct 10 2005]


       So, let me make sure I've got this straight. You want to combat the destructive nature of a forest fire with...bombs.
Overpanic, Oct 30 2003

       Why stop there? With good planning and precision bomb placement, the firefighters can tap into a large body of water, creating a river or canal full of water at the bottom of the newly created valley.   

       We'll make San Diego an island. Maybe the Russians could lend an intercontinental ballistic hand.
Laughs Last, Oct 30 2003

       Explosives are already used to put out some fires, as the explosion uses up the available oxygen in a given area. I'm not sure about forest fires but dynamite is used to snuff oil-well fires.   

       What [2 fries] said. - That’s how oil well fires are extinguished. Trying this method in woodlands is not likely to produce the desired result.
Shz, Oct 30 2003

       Yeah, and it's going to be pretty politically incorrect to bomb your own city. Maybe if the fires were in the middle of a national park....
phoenix, Oct 31 2003

       An added bonus I thought of: bunker busting bombs throw a lot of dirt in the air. Throwing dirt on fires is well known to be beneficial. Maybe that little fact will garner me some bread?
bungston, Oct 31 2003

       Forest fires are BIG. Bombs are generally made for destroying comparatively small things. Even if a bomb could fireproof a large enough radius that 100' spacing was adequate, a 10 mile front would require 500 bombs and a 100-mile front would require 5,000. And achieving effectiveness with 100' spacing was ridiculously over-optimistic. Even 10' spacing would be hard to achieve.
supercat, Oct 31 2003

       Actually, you could get a C-130 or 3 and drop a few FAE's along the front you want to clear cut. In Vietnam they used Daisy Cutters all the time to clear jungle growth away to make landing zones for helicopters, or dropped a few of them in a row to make room for dozers to carve out a temporary runway. These types of bombs don't really leave craters, and tend to just make huge compressed air concussions to do the bulk of their damage. This simply "blows" away anything taller than grass (throw some sugar on a table top, blow directly down at it and you get a clear circle with no surgar in it, same thing here, sorta). The only downside is you'd prolly have to follow up the blast with a bull dozer and ground crews to make sure the fire gap was actually clear of all possible fuels.
Reverend_Cobol, Oct 31 2003

       Reverend_Cobol: What good does it do to "blow down" lots of trees and stuff if there's still plenty of flammable fuel available to feed a fire?
supercat, Oct 31 2003

       [cat] - if you could make a strip where everything was blown down, it would slow down the fire as it tried to cross. All the flammable stuff would be moved to the sides. This actually would facilitate the counterburn since the fireward side of the strip would be piled high with flammables blown there by the bombs.
bungston, Oct 31 2003

       [bungston], has an appropriately halfbaked idea here. Fire lines from 40 to 80 ft wide are regularly cut through expanses of boreal forests as a preventative measure. Sometimes these cuts run upwards of 50 miles in length.   

       His idea has the added benefit of mixing in dirt with felled trees.
Tiger Lily, Oct 31 2003

       I've heard that the russians used to put out large forest fires with atomic bombs. That big enough for you, supercat?
Loris, Nov 03 2003

       // Maybe that little fact will garner me some bread? //   

       bung, any bread gained there is offset by the fact that you said "added bonus".
waugsqueke, Nov 03 2003

       //All of this without a single person on the ground//
What if they're re/married?
thumbwax, Nov 03 2003

       What cards, those fun-loving Russians!
Madcat, Feb 03 2004

       The felled trees would have to be removed from the fire break totally or it's just another collection of fuel. dovering this with dirt would only work if the layer was intact over the trees. Air pockets trapped underground would allow the trees to burn even if covered. They have been trying to put out an underground fire on a landfill site near here for over 6 months now.
oneoffdave, Feb 04 2004

       Perhaps one could use a BLIMP filled with Hydrogen remotely guided over the leading edge of the fire. The resultant explosion should drastically deplete oxygen and may have the added benefit of combining oxygen and hydrogen into H2O, or possibly hydrogen peroxide.
Willie333, Oct 10 2005

       I have out the white phosphorous and you come talking about some wussy hydrogen? [Willie], please!
bungston, Oct 10 2005

       How about we let the fires burn, so this doesnt freakin happen every year.
Antegrity, Oct 11 2005

       //Recently many things have caught on fire.//   

       I don't know why, but that's just a funny statement.
daseva, Feb 09 2006


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