NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Fire crews are taking some extra measures to protect vulnerable and historic structures in the Black Fire’s path. Not only are crews taking preventative measures—like digging fire lines and clearing brush—some structures are actually getting wrapped for their protection.
“It’s not the aluminum foil you buy in the grocery store,” says Evan Burks, public information officer for the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 3, “It’s a special material designed for protecting structures from radiant heat.”
While it does look a lot like aluminum foil, Burks says it’s actually made out of a similar material used in fire shelters. It also protects those structures from wayward embers that might threaten a building. Burks says at least ten structures have been wrapped in the Black Fire area.
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“Most of the structures on the Black Fire that have been wrapped are historic forest service cabins and other critical infrastructure like communication towers,” Burks says. Not every structure needs this type of wrap; firefighters assess the area based on the fire, the fuels around it, and vegetation to decide how to defend or protect that structure.
The wraps are able to hold up under severe heat and wind conditions. Hotshot crews have them in their gear packs—they can use it as a blanket to try and protect themselves if they get trapped by fires.