By Science Editor, Jaime Yarbrough – August 28, 2023
The other day someone asked: “Why don’t we just scoop up a bunch of seawater to put the fires out? It’s like there’s plenty of it !! “
I told him, first of all the internet is your friend and you can look it up, but there are two short answers.
1. Corrosion. Salt water is very corrosive to the equipment that is used to either store or spray it on a fire.
2. There are many kinds of fires, such as house fires, electrical fires, metal fires, liquid fires and most common wildfires (trees, brush, living vegetation). Oh, and a special category, beach fires.
Sea or salt water is perfectly fine to put out a beach fire. However if you’re using it on a wildfire you will contaminate the ground and destroy the ability of the ground from growing anything for a long time.
And of course 3, it is usually a long distance from most fires and not easily transported. You can look all this up online ( or ask your favorite artificial intelligence (AI) friend ) here: [ https://firefighterinsider.com/can-you-put-out-a-fire-with-seawater-does-it-work/#Why%20Isn’T%20Sea%20Water%20used? ]
Oh and before you ask about the “fire retardant” that is dropped from aircraft on a fire you can find information about that here. And yes, “fire retardant” is typically mixed with (fresh) water.
[ SEE THE SECTION ON “WILDFIRE RETARDANTS” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant ]
For further information about FIRE in general, be sure to familiarize yourself with the
FIRE TRIANGLE – FIRE TETRAHEDRON (?….Fuel, oxygen, heat and the “chain-reaction” )
Knowledge is power. The power to keep you safe.