Our Northwest

Choppers drop flammable balls to kill fire

Friday, October 5, 2012by  Jon Osterberg

Airborne firefighters battling the Table Mountain blaze near Ellensburg recently dropped 15,000 combustible ping-pong balls to ignite controlled burnouts, consuming potential fuel on the wildfire’s perimeter.
     The plastic spheres are filled with potassium permanganate and water-glycol, and varying the proportion of the mixture controls how long it takes the spheres to ignite. The more spheres dropped by helicopter, the greater the intensity of the controlled burnout.
     “It would take us until Christmas to burn this out by hand,” said a fire-control official. Read the Ellensburg Daily Record article.

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