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New Long-Term Fire Retardant Technology Aims To Provide Extra Layer Of Protection From Wildfires

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - After the Caldor Fire threatened to destroy South Lake Tahoe, residents are taking fire prevention to the next level.

Perimeter Solutions has created a different kind of retardant that doesn't require jet fuel and a runway.

"People are understanding they need to do something different," says Wes Bolsen, the company's director of wildfire prevention and protection.

"Instead of just dropping red stuff out of the sky, what we're doing is a ground-based white [spray] that a homeowner can do themselves," he tells CBS station KOVR.

Bolsen says spraying Phos-Chek Fortify prevents embers from igniting not just homes but the forest that surrounds them.

"Embers are coming in, they're like a match, a small match. What is going to light on fire? But if you coat it with a long-term retardant, what happens is it chars it turns black and chemically it releases H20 — water," Bolsen explains, preventing the embers from turning into a full-blown blaze.

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

Phos-Chek Fortify is now being used up and down California. Since the Caldor Fire, Bolsen's company has been busy.

"We've been treating morning to night for about the last week. We've treated more than 250 homes," he says.

Bolsen says the solution will stay on a surface through the fire season or until rain washes it away. The retardant product has been tested for toxicity and it is safe for the environment, fish, wildlife and kids.

Phos-Chek Fortify is only in its second year and it's expected to be used as a standard moving forward.

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