Firefighters Use Incendiary ‘Ping Pong Balls’ to Attack Copper King Fire
The Copper King fire has been burning for nearly a month, but the blaze is only 13 percent contained. Today firefighters attempted to combat the fire with a new technique, which fire information officer Mike Cole describes as the “the Ping Pong method”.
"'The Ping pong method' it is an aerial plastic sphere dispenser," said Cole. "It has a gel material and as they go out through the dispenser when it hits the ground it ignites. Nothing ignites in the air or inside of the helicopter. Actually the dispenser is swung beneath the helicopter kind of like you would see a water bucket being carried."
The ping pong ball size incendiary devices are being used on Copper King to help guide the fire out of steep terrain and down towards roadways where crews can combat it more easily. Currently 45 homes are still evacuated with another 130 under a pre-evacuation warning. Cole says the spread out nature of the homes makes this situation quite different than the Roaring Lion Fire.
"It is pretty darn close to some of them," Cole said. "There are some isolated areas where there are some homes and cabins and the fire has burned around them. They are doing some structure protection on some of those homes as we speak. It is more or a rural area than it was down in Hamilton on the Roaring Lion fire so it is a lot more mixed ownership. The residents are scattered on the south west, and east side of the fires."
More heavy equipment was brought in to fight Copper King today as well, which is helping to boost the costs of the fire, which is already over 11 million dollars.