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BrushFire Barrier Safety System

The Brush Fire Barrier Safety System was created by FLAMEOUT CHEMICAL COMPANY employing their product, FLAMEOUT 1000, which has been demonstrated to be an effective deterrent toward brush fires in the hills of Southern California.

In Southern California, the fire season is very long, running from the middle of May and ending during the last of October. Because of this long period of dryness, spraying shall start immediately after the rainy season in the month of April so there shall not be any question of protection needed. There will be several sprayings accomplished during the fire season under contract. As well, any additional requested service calls shall be taken and dispatched immediately to supply our existing clients and temporary callers.


The term firebreak is defined in English terminology as a natural or already existing barrier, or a barrier artificially constructed before a fire occurs, from which all or most of the flammable materials have been removed. Such a barrier is designed to stop or check creeping or running fires but not spot fires, and if possible to serve as a lane for the movement of men and equipment in attacking the fire. Waterways, swamps, road networks, etc., should form part of the firebreak system, but may, depending on their location, warrant improvement by construction of additional firebreaks along their borders.

A fireline is defined as a narrow portion of a control line from which flammable materials have been removed by scraping or digging down to mineral soil. (A control line is an inclusive term for constructed or natural barriers used to control a fire). Here we are concerned only with those firelines constructed prior to the outbreak of fire.

Other terms which are sometimes used, such as firelane, firestrip, greenbreak and fireguard, are either synonyms or local variations of the above definitions.

Firebreaks can be quite successful in stopping the spread of a creeping fire, but a crown fire or one burning fiercely in heavy undergrowth or slash and fanned by strong winds, will not be stopped by any normal firebreak. Sparks or burning material are often thrown great distances ahead of the main fire and a firebreak intended to counter such occurrences would generally be uneconomical to construct and wasteful from the point of view of land use. An exception is where wide firebreaks are utilized as grazing areas.

For the most part, firebreaks and firelines are regarded as bases from which a fire can be attacked and between which a fire can be confined. By affording free movement for attack forces and an already prepared line of defense, they can help to avert considerable losses.

The several types of breaks are:


All possible use should be made of existing natural breaks such as rivers, creeks, swamps and permanent cultivation. In tropical and sub-tropical regions, rain forest types which intrude into dry forests form barriers against fire, and where they exist as intrusive strips rather than as sizable areas, protection is warranted against any operations that will destroy their effectiveness. It may in fact, be advisable to prohibit logging operations within them.

Accumulations of slash near natural firebreaks should be avoided as far as possible, and should in all events be gotten rid of during some suitable period prior to the beginning of the fire season. If this is not done, a natural greenbreak can gradually be destroyed by the inroads of fire, and the chances that burning material will be blown across a stream for instance, are greatly increased.


The value as fire barriers of such improvement works as roads, can often be increased by clearing fire breaks along either side, or at times by planting the borders with species especially resistant to fire. All roads and trails should, however, be kept clear of flammable material and in particular drains and culverts should be kept free of leaves and other trash. This is simply good road maintenance practice, but if neglected, there is always the possibility of creeping fires getting across the road or burning wooden culverts and bridges. Logging tracks and temporary logging roads soon become overgrown and useless after the finish of logging operations; where power equipment is available, they can often be kept open at reasonable cost to the great advantage of the protection system.


Completely cleared firebreaks, one to two chains (20-40 meters) in width and located in strategic sectors, are still often used where the clearing required is light and power machines are available. They are, however, tending to lose favor as construction and maintenance costs rise. Such breaks can be maintained free of vegetation by plowing, brushing and burning, and sometimes by use of chemicals. Spraying with chemicals is especially economic where the break is alongside a road from which power spraying can be done rapidly.


Fire retardant created firebreaks is new technology that is used in areas to protect specific areas and building structures. The primary use is to protect homes that are bordered by brush fire fuel which if ignited would put structures and residential areas in great fire danger. The firebreak should be maintained with the application of an effective fire retardant on a periodic basis to maintain the non fuel status of the firebreak area. The recommended minimum width should be 50 feet and the length of the property. The chemical product should be safe to the environment, plants, animals, and humans. It is recommended that signs be posted to inform firefighters that the area is treated so they can respond appropriately in case of an emergency.


Firelines, when supplementary to other types of breaks, need to be from 2 to 4 feet (about 1 meter) in width, but when used alone, they should be wider. The actual width will generally be determined by the facilities available for construction and maintenance. When only hand labor and tools are available, narrow lines are all that can be expected.


In this century we have experienced a major change in the amount of rainfall throughout Southern California and the world. For the past 80 years, a decrease has occurred and it looks as though its not getting any better.

During the turn of the century the average precipitation for this area was at 15.1" each year. It is now raining approximately 14" and seems to be decreasing from there. When 15" of rain is recorded it is usually received in a two month period during the winter months. During years when precipitation is normal it usually brings floods which don't help the fire season in the hot months.

Since records began in the 1850's, the four warmest years of the past 150 years have occurred in the 1980s, which were the warmest decade on record.

Severe droughts in the Midwest invites a question about why this warming trend is happening. It may be likely that the drought and warming trend is the direct results of the "greenhouse effect". Weathermen from around the world agree the drought may continue to occur for some time since the greenhouse effect is taking a stronger hold. And while looking for a solution, we can expect to have warmer years with much dryer ones to accompany them.

The "greenhouse effect" is the result of a build-up of gases in the atmosphere which trap infrared heat that would normally escape into space. The gases include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and the same chlorofluorocarbons which are damaging the ozone layer.

The relationship between this effect and Southern California's drought situation will be closely monitored for one simple reason, this area should be a dry desert and will become a severe 'hotspot' if and when it does not receive adequate rainfall. Since rain is vital to maintain the mountainous brush and chaparral throughout the southern part of the state, it is feared the number one problem for the area will be 'fire' and lots of it.

Statistics show this area is in real danger and getting worse with rainfall being low. In 1987, wildfires were at one of the highest levels for California with more than 8 million fires throughout the states fire protection districts. The acres burned in brush and grass alone hit a high of over 30,000 that year, according to the California Department of Forestry. A total of 350,000 acres had burned in all of the states vegetation, including timber and woodland areas.

Over 20,000 firefighters were on the lines in September, 1987 which was quoted to be the worst fire situation in 30 years. California covered more burning acres that all other states put together. More than 7,500 people had to be evacuated in Four fires merged to become a 100,000 acre disaster which seemed to have no end unless rainfall helped end this disaster.

The cost to suppress the 1987 holocaust was estimated at over $20 million with hundreds of millions of dollars lost in natural resources. One firefighter died and 51 people injured fighting these California fires.

Now with FLAMEOUT, it is possible to create a natural fire break without the requirement of brush clearance. FLAMEOUT is much more effective because it requires a minimum of labor effort and maximum effectiveness. FlameOut can be topically applied with sprinkler spray systems. This application capability allows for maximum coverage to create an effective safety zone that will protect the property.

The well-known Santa Ana winds cause much of the havoc for the south land firefighters during September through November. Dry weather and strong winds brought unbearable heat in September this year causing fire problems throughout Ventura, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego in a 600 acre fire were the direct result of little humidity from the Santa Ana winds in the early part of September.

The unfortunate problem is that these winds can not be battled. Only good fire prevention and proper understanding of vegetation control around structure will help protect them from any fire, especially these devil winds.

The problem is not just confined to Mother Nature's act of cleansing. Man made fires, whether accidental or arson caused, compound the situation to catastrophic proportions. As one fire official described, "wild land and forest fires are not coming to the habitated areas, we are taking non-prescribed fires to the forest." Where this happens, it is almost always a tragic scene. Millions of acres of once beautiful land being scorched to a barren waste and homes being leveled by a fires rage in minutes.

The fire season is widening each year for the obvious reasons mentioned above. In 1986 many areas of the state began opening in the beginning of May with the last closing early December. Here in Southern California the fire season is expected to widen even more, given the fact that very little rainfall is expected to occur past the rainy season. After suffering the worst drought in history the large amount of rain received in the winter of 1993 will add much more fuel to the brush because of the lack of manpower and ability to clear the growth. Rain is a blessing in one respect and a curse in another. The only other saving grace would be a continued extended rainy season for the next two years which is not likely. We are most likely to see the type of statistics that we have had over the last 10 years. Clearing of brush adds to the problems of mud slides during the rainy season.

Features and Benefits

A. Topical Applications

  1. Easily applied (spray application by sprinklers)
  2. Low cost, compared to the alternative.
  3. Alternative to brush clearing
  4. Maintenance and Quality Assurance included

B. Passive Preventative Method

  1. Does not have to wait for fire to start, to trigger action
  2. Creates a fire break
  3. Increases fire safety zone
  4. Works on same principle as a backfire

C. Fire Retardant

  1. Reduces amount of fire fuel
  2. reduces potential loss from brush fires
  3. May save your property
  4. Enhances ability to control fire

D. Water Based

  1. Biodegradable
  2. Non-toxic (meets all EPA requirements)
  3. Effective immediately upon application
  4. Clear in color
  5. Does not impede growth of vegetation
  6. May be colored for identification purposes
  7. Safe to animal life


In the wake of Southern California's continuing drought and then winter floods, San Diego County's, Ventura County's and L.A. County's brush maintenance and upkeep programs have lost considerable footing in trying to keep up with the need of brush clearing.

In 1987 the predictions were for one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. In San Diego alone, the losses included more than 1,100 commercial and residential structures, and claimed over 140 lives. Now, with the recent almost non-existing rainy season, predictions for the 1997 fire season are even more ominous. The 1996 fire season is a sample of what is expected in future years.

Local government has been hampered in reducing the 3 year clearance backlog due to EPA regulations which have the effect of restricting controlled burning, as well as by the labor and cost intensity of brush clearance. The dynamics of brush growth and the proximity of residential communities, continues to force this safety problem to the forefront. Even so, currently, the only preventive activity occurring to protect our land, lives and property has been cutting clearance and very limited back burning.

Fire fighting techniques which were once considered state-of-the-art, are now antiquated. A recent statement points out the fact that "we have been to the moon and back twice, yet fire suppression technology has never really gotten off the ground." Fire, being the oldest natural destructive phenomenon, is the only one which can be controlled.

As a preventive and active fire fighting solution, we propose a BRUSH FIRE BARRIER SAFETY SYSTEM. The system, which is installed in stand alone modules, serves in areas presenting continuous brush fire danger.

The FLAMEOUT BFBS System is a modular, dry pipe sprinkler network serviced with a 5 or 10 hp (gasoline or electric) motor driven pumping system and a 450 - 500 gallon reservoir of FLAMEOUT on our mobile product supply vehicle..

The BFBS systems design and layout are modular so as to be customizable to the brush and land contours. We service the safety zone at prescribed intervals in order to maintain a continually effective layer of FLAMEOUT protection over the brush. Particularly effective on the driest brush, the BFBS System is programmed for continuous coverage. Of course, in the event of a brush fire in the area, we can play an active role by dispensing an additional spraying of FLAMEOUT, for added protection, without added strain to the local fire fighting water resources. The creation of perimeter fire breaks can help slow the advance of fires. Additionally, with a wide enough coverage area, it can help minimize the chances of damage to your property.



DESCRIPTION: FLAMEOUT is a clear, non-toxic, water-based organic silicate. May be used on any unsealed, interior or exterior cellulose substance (wood vegetation or brush.) Has high durability, no odor upon application and is fast drying. May be colored for identification markings where required.

SURFACES: Intended for all types of dried brush and grasses, and flame retardant treatment for access ways, roads (especially secondary and tertiary roads) and vegetation.

SURFACE PREPARATION: Care should be taken to assure full coverage of undergrowth. Where high pressure hoses are used, sufficient power is generated to penetrate and treat dense areas.

SURFACE TEMPERATURE: Temperature should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results avoid application in the presence of frost, fog or severe dampness.

FLAME RETARDANCY: In independent field testing, FLAMEOUT treated brush was subjected to in excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, under the supervision of the California Department of Forestry and the Society of American Forester's. The area was treated one week in advance of the test and was subjected to moderate rain 2 days prior to the test.. The height of the brush ranged from 6 inches to 7 feet. The 240 square foot fire break that was created did not ignite or propagate flame.

APPLICATION: Stir or shake well before using. High pressure sprayer recommended for greatest penetration.

BRUSH COVERAGE: 150-400 square feet per gallon, depending on brush density.

DRYING TIME: Dries dust-free in two hours. Drying time variable depending on the temperature and humidity.

CLEANUP: Clean up application equipment with soap and water.

SAFE CONTROL: FLAMEOUT is not a soil sterilant or herbicide and will not promote soil erosion. Satisfies the requirements of the Federal EPA FIFRA guidelines (Pesticide Assessment Guidelines - Subsection F-Hazard Evaluation; Human & Domestic Animals; Code of Federal Regulations, (CFR) Section 40; Part 158, October, 1982.





Today more than ever, it is important to safeguard our property from fire. The only means of protection we have had until now is removing brush and shrubs from around our dwellings. Now there is a product and service available to you which protects your property without completely removing the natural plantings that make your property very special. The product is called 'FLAMEOUT', a non-toxic, biodegradable, non - carcinogenic chemical which can be sprayed onto the vegetation surrounding your property to prevent the spread of fire. This revolutionary product has just been introduced to this area for the use in providing a secondary means of a fire break. Along with offering this new product, you now have available a service called ' BRUSH FIRE BARRIER SAFETY ZONE' to install and provide continuous, up to date service which will offer year round protection. This system has been proven by various fire departments throughout Southern California, including the test sites within Camp Pendelton Marine Base in Oceanside, California. Of course, the smart choice is BFBS System, now. Remember, if you have to fight a fire, you've lost the fire fight. Get BRUSH FIRE BARRIER SAFETY SYSTEM, before you need it. It works.



Millions of Californians live in residential developments that border fire prone wild lands. Each year, hundreds of homes in these "suburban" and "rural" areas are lost to wildfire outbreaks. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), as many as 80 percent of the homes lost to wildfires in the past could have been saved if the owners had followed a few simple fire safe practices. These practices - which are mandated by law - include:

  1. Maintaining a "defensible " space around your home by clearing all flammable vegetation within 30 feet of the structure. Clear dead leaves and cut small trees and brush to leave widely spaced, larger trees.
  2. Cleaning all needles and leaves from the roof, eaves and rain gutters.
  3. Trimming tree limbs within 10 feet of your chimney and trimming all dead limbs hanging over your house or garage.
  4. Covering your chimney outlet or vent with a vertical spark arrester of 1/2" mesh screen.



FLAMEOUT adds a major level of added protection to homes and property. The following suggestions work hand in hand with the state regulations in the areas outlined.

These include:

Area A. Maintaining a "defensible" space around your home can include treating flammable vegetation in the area with FLAMEOUT in order to reduce its flammability. Dead leaf, small tree and brush clearance should still be done where it poses the severest threat.

Area B. In addition to needle and leaf cleaning, wood roofs should be replaced with a non flammable product to reduce roof fire exposure.

Area C. Tree trunks and perimeters should be treated with FLAMEOUT to minimize their exposure to brush fire danger.

Added protection:

Treat vegetation around the property, especially where it is in unprotected areas open to brush fire movement. Fire breaks of 10 - 25 feet around the perimeter of these areas offers significant additional protection.



Flame Out Chemical Company was contacted by the Los Angeles Fire Department to notify us of a controlled burn that would take place May, 1988 in Pomona Ca. The purpose of the burn was to clear away the dry brush surrounding valuable trees that would be endangered if the brush were to catch fire. Environmental protection agencies mandate that many species of trees in our national and state parks be protected. The usual course of action is brush clearance. This takes many man hours to accomplish, which translates into large tax dollar expenditures.

To accomplish adequate brush clearance, it would take eleven men plus one supervisor to clear the area. Using the alternative of treating the area with FLAMEOUT FIRE RETARDANT around the trees to protect them from encroaching flame, one man using a hand held sprayer can treat the same area in minutes. The most effective application method is to use a high pressure, low volume airless sprayer.




JULY 10, 1988

On July 10, 1988, a prescribed burn was conducted in the survival training area of Camp Pendelton Marine Base in Oceanside Ca., under the supervision of the base fire chief.

A five foot wide fire break was treated from the top South East corner of a hill side, down to its North West corner on June 26, 1988. The area was allowed to dry and remained untouched for two weeks.

The hill was torched beginning at the North West corner and was allowed to burn uphill. The dry , light fuels, quickly ignited and spread. The fire moved South and East until it reached the FLAMEOUT treated line. At that point, the fire was stopped in its tracks.

Next, it was torched at the lower North East corner and was allowed to burn up the hill to the South West where it again was immediately extinguished at the FLAMEOUT treated line.

During the entire burn, the fire chief oversaw the operations from the FLAMEOUT treated fire break.

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Last modified: April 20, 2006