Wildfires are suppressed primarily from both the air and from the ground. Air tankers and helicopters can fly over fires and dump water, fire retardant and chemicals (foam) on the fire. Firefighters also work to stop fire from the ground.
Using heavy equipment and hand tools while wearing oxygen masks and fire-proof clothing, firefighters will dig trenches to surround the fire. One of the tools used is called a Pulaski which is a combination ax and hoe. This moves fuel in the path of the fire and then the firefighters will also apply water through large fire hoses.
There are three major components for a wildfire be it in the city or the forest. It is the heat, fuel, and oxygen also known as the fire triangle. These three components are responsible for any possible wildfire or other fire you can think of. Weather also plays a crucial part in spreading a wildfire. Suppressing a wildfire or stopping them requires removing the fuel factor since its usually the most abundant. Once you do that you can successfully stop a wildfire. Let us discuss ways used to suppress that factor.
Adding a fire retardant : Ammonium Polyphosphate is a commonly used fire retardant in wildfires. Polyphosphate lowers the combustion temperature of the fuel and the fire is only able to burn some of the fuel leaving behind residue. This way is not recommended since it has negative effects on the environment.
Water Bombing : Water Bombing is a fairly common way of dealing with Wildfires although it is also used to restrict fuel for the fire. Areas around the fire that are still unburnt are doused with water because the wet wood will not burn and thus the fire has no place to propagate and will die out in a set area.
Fire Break : In some places, there is a 20 ft pathway created in the middle of forests in advance which allows for a path through it and also acts as stop fires from spreading from one part of the forest to the other.
Pre-Burning : Used for slowly propagating downhill fires, an area is burned before the fire can reach it such that there is no fuel to pass the fire onto.
The methods of Restricting fuels are used because it is easier, cheaper and more efficient. Windy conditions make these processes difficult, hence windiness will enhance the fire’s effects. However, if the fire is somehow oil-based, the above methods will fail to produce a proper impact. In Oil-based fires, a small amount of dynamite is blasted so that it will suck all the oxygen to snuff both flames.