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Homeowners In The Sierra Having Their Properties Sprayed With Special Fire Retardant

South Lake Tahoe (CBS13) – After the Caldor fire threatened to destroy South Lake Tahoe, neighbors are taking fire prevention to the next level.

Shrinkwrapping their homes in tin foil and spraying their properties down with long-term retardant.

"People are understanding they need to do something different," said Wes Bolsen, Wildfire Protection and Prevention Director for Perimeter Solutions, a company that's created a different kind of retardant that doesn't require jet fuel and a runway.

"Instead of just dropping red stuff out of the sky, we're doing ground-based white stuff that a homeowner can do themselves," said Bolsen.

He says spraying Phos-Chek Fortify will prevent embers from igniting not just homes but the forest that surrounds them.

Here's how it works:

"Embers are coming in, they're like a match. What is going to light on fire? The dry vegetation. If you coat it with a long-term retardant what happens is it chars it turns black and then chemically it releases H20 -- water," said Bolsen.

The new technology could stop embers from turning into a full-blown blaze.

"Ninety percent of homes burn from embers coming in," he said.

Since the Caldor Fire, Bolsen's company has been busy.

"We've been treating morning to night. For the last week, we've treated about 250 homes. If spot fires come back in, if embers and winds change, we want those homes protected," he said.

The solution will stay on a surface through the fire season or until rain washes it away.

"Unfortunately, we don't believe this is the end of fire season. We need to have more protection more fire prevention out there," he said.

The retardant product has been tested for toxicity and it is safe for the environment, fish, wildlife and kids. This product is only in its second year and it's expected to be used as a standard moving forward

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