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Wildland Fire Chemical Systems and Aerial Delivery Systems

General Information: What We Do

We evaluate all wildland fire chemical products extensively before qualifying them for use by Federal firefighting agencies. The WFCS program  compiles technical information acquired during fire chemical product evaluations and provides that information in forms (e.g., product information sheets) that are useful to employees in the field and to the general public. These evaluations include tests to determine:

  • Uniform and intergranular corrosion
  • Product stability
  • Fire-retarding effectiveness
  • Physical parameters
  • Mammalian toxicity, including oral toxicity (ingestion), dermal toxicity (absorption through the skin), eye irritation, and skin irritation
  • Aquatic toxicity
  • Human health and ecological risk assessments using data from toxicity tests and safety data sheets (SDS)

After a fire chemical has successfully completed all the required tests, WFCS adds it to the Forest Service Qualified Products List (QPL) which allows federal agencies, states, and others to purchase it. Using the test results, WFCS  prepares user guides and information sheets (typically one or two pages) frequently requested by user groups and the general public. We also compile much of the performance information into a format similar to “Consumer Reports,” enabling easy comparison of  multiple products side by side. We summarize fire chemical information for inclusion into the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) “Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations” (Red Book), the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) “Wildland Fire Incident Management Field Guide,” the NWCG “Incident Response Pocket Guide” (IRPG), and job aids for use in the field and in training classes.

Types of Products

There are three different types of wildland fire chemical product:

Click on the links below for a description of each product type. Each product description also contains a qualified products list (QPL).

Technical Information

Lot Acceptance and Quality Assurance

The Lot Acceptance and Quality Assurance (LAQA) Program provides airtanker base managers and other field personnel with user information and troubleshooting suggestions for correctly mixing and loading long-term retardant.

Refer to the Lot Acceptance and Quality Assurance Program web page for further information.

Environmental, Firefighter, and Public Safety

The following web pages provide guidance, environmental studies and briefs, and other documents for use by field personnel and the public.