Kids propose solutions for wildfire problems

A Lego League Team of kids 9 to 14 years old is working on a science project. The task of Team #896 is to develop some innovative ideas to mitigate wildfires. They asked me to give them some feedback on what they came up with.

I complied with their request, and then asked if we could publish what they submitted — they said they would love to see them on this website. So, here they are, as I received them:


“1) This idea is a dome made out of a very light weight metal with a fire retardant cloth lining the inside. They thought of making this huge dome to be carried by a helicopter or plane. And dropping the dome on the hotspot to snuff it out like a candle snuffer.

2) Another idea is to make lightweight foldable domes for the firefighters to use as protection if they get caught in a wildfire.

3) we talked to some firefighters and they said they get rid of the fuel with chainsaws and axes. This idea is a chemical (not sure what chemical yet) that is sprayed on the trees and shrubbery that they want to get rid of that dissolves it or makes it so it will not burn.

4) idea to get rid of smoke from wildfires. A huge vacuum on a helicopter or truck that sucks up the smoke and filters it, so it’s clean, or filters it and spits it back to the fire mixed with something the help put out the fire.

5) early warning system consisting of cameras and heat sensors that are solar powered to detect and warn when a woodland fire has started and where.

6) idea to make firebreaks better, have a tank or bladder attached to the bushwhacker when making a firebreak to spray a fire retardant chemical to help the firebreak work better. [Note from Bill: I asked about the “bushwhacker”, and they replied: “The bushwhacker is what the kids call the tractor the firefighters use to make the firebreak.”]”


We also heard from another Lego League team that produced an interesting infographic about wildfires.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

9 thoughts on “Kids propose solutions for wildfire problems”

  1. Hi Bill,

    So we are another Lego team from Cincinnati, OH. Our team has focused on smokejumpers and specifically the issue of quickly uniting smokejumpers with the cargo that follows them when they are first on the scene.

    The team read about how the planes can sometimes need to go to higher elevations to avoid the effects of the fire below and this can cause less accuracy in the drop. This then causes the smokejumpers to have to travel farther to get the equipment which results in delays in addressing the fire.

    Specifically, the team is interested in exploring how to use GPS to aid with this situation.

    Any information or assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


  2. I’m a coach for another lego team (In the UK) and they have come up with some similar ideas. Do you might sharing your critiques? I also would be interested in hearing what researchers are currently working on improving to help minimize the spread of fires.

  3. So cool … I was asked by a ‘Lego Group’ here in Northern Virginia, The Rockin’ Penguins, to give a presentation on wildland fire science and technology. I was amazed when one of the young’uns stopped my presentation and asked if I knew anything about avoiding oversaturation and maximizing signal-to-noise ratio in standard videography.

    I think this group (I wonder if it’s the same one) is developing a “fire danger sensor called the oobleck fire sensor because it will be protected by a layer of oobleck–a corn starch mixture-when it is dropped from the air.”

    The kids were amazingly smart … just a little fidgety because they definitely did not enjoy their lunch at the USGS cafeteria.


Comments are closed.