Scientists Create 'vaccine' Gel To Prevent Wildfires In Vegetations

Science

As the Amazon forest continues to burn since June, Stanford scientist Eric Appel has recently created a 'vaccine' gel to prevent vegetation from catching fire

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
Scientists

As the Amazon forest continues to burn since June, Stanford materials scientist Eric Appel has recently created a 'vaccine' gel to prevent vegetation from catching fire, according to international reports. Appel and his colleagues who have published their findings in 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA' (PNAS) state that the fluid devised by them will drastically reduce the number of forest fires each year. The study aims at making the gel act as a vaccine against future fire outbreaks. The approach is reportedly proactive, rather reactive.

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Vaccine gel to prevent wildfires

The study claims that firefighters currently use retardants such as inorganic salt ammonium polyphosphate (APP) to tackle fires. APP creates water when it is burned. The newly devised gel is essentially a sticky and fire-resilient carrier for these chemical retardants, states the study.  The gel comprises of cellulose-based plant material which will clasp to vegetation through all weather.

READ | Amazon Fires: Brazil's Bolsonaro allows army to help fire-fight

Vaccine gel tested on fires 

The team has revealed that the gel is non-toxic and can be safely sprayed onto the environment using current agricultural equipment or aircraft. Moreover, according to reports, the gel has already been tested on grass and chamise by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Reports state that in both scenarios the spray provided complete fire protection, even after heavy rainfall.  Appel claims that the gel can also be used in large doses to put out fires -essentially acting as a fire repellent.

READ | Amazon Fire: Why is part of the Amazon burning?

Amazon continues to burn 

This invention comes in the wake of fires in the world's largest rainforest. These fires have sparked street protests around the planet and ignited a war of words between Bolsonaro and other world leaders. The world's interest piqued when NASA released a satellite image of the devastating forest fires which has reached 80,000 - the highest since 2013. Brazil which is home to  60 percent of the rainforest has faced the biggest brunt of forest fires. Experts blame accelerating deforestation during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing as the main reason for the forest fires.

Bolsanaro has faced international ire for failing to protect the region and not accepting global powers' aide in fighting the fires. As per International reports, Bolsanaro has enlisted the Army's help in tackling the fires. Meanwhile, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname have signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring to protect the rainforest.

READ | Amazon Fire: Peru, Colombia propose an emergency summit as fires blaze 

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