One of the first things I learned as a wildland firefighter was how to accurately and effectively use a firefighting shovel to throw dirt as a means to cool or slow down a flare up on a wildfire. I could even hit a burning area on a tree 20 or 25 feet above the ground. Today, many shovels on hand crews have been replaced by Combi Tools which are useful for a “combination” of tasks, but have a smaller spoon area and are less efficient for throwing dirt.
But the prize-winner for dirt throwing has to go to a piece of equipment developed by a company in Spain, EXiTT. The name is based on “extinción incendios tierra-tierra”, Spanish for ground to ground fire extinguisher. The company has three prototypes for machines that excavate dirt and throw huge quantities of it at a vegetation fire. Covering a fire with dirt will rarely extinguish it, but it can slow it to a smoldering state, making it much easier to control. You may have to later expose the burning material in order to completely extinguish the fire.
It is not exactly a MIST or “minimum impact suppression technique“, but looks like it may be useful in some situations where environmental disturbance is not an issue. It reminds us of a machine we wrote about a few months ago that digs dirt, vacuums it up, and then blasts it at a wildfire.