Barricade Fire Blocking Gel


Spray-on home protection from wildfires

Barricade Fire Gel is a foam that you spray on your house before a wildfire. It stays wet for 48 hours and keeps burning embers from igniting the house. It easily washes off and, unlike most compressed air foam (CAF) systems, is EPA certified as nontoxic.

I tested it on cardboard held over a gas stove flame, and it didn’t ignite in 10 minutes. Also, I applied it to the outside of my home, over a very dry Labor Day weekend, and it stayed put and wet for 48h. (A bear licked some of it off, so it doesn’t taste like petrochemicals.) As the pictures from the vendor’s site show, Fire Gel comes in 1 gallon containers, and you attach a garden hose and an eductor-jet pump to it. What this means is that a small person can lift it and apply it. In other CAF systems, there’s a huge amount of heavy equipment that depends on different power supplies, and it’s heavy and complex. The foam is relatively cheap on those systems — the applicator is expensive. Barricade took a different tack, and put expensive engineering into the foam, which is very effective and tastes good to bears.

Here in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado, Barricade Fire Gel is one part of my fire plan. This is only one part of a fire plan, and I’d urge anyone who buys FireGel to go to a workshop with your local fire department to maximize your chance of coming out unscathed. Another motivation to become more involved in fire protection is that in recent fires here, folks found out that they were woefully underinsured, and can’t rebuild their old house. Less than 10% were adequately insured to rebuild in the mountains, and we’re talking an educated affluent population.

-- Robert Hastings 05/23/13