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Preventative Wildfire Solution to Help Fight Australian Bushfires

Jan. 13, 2020
During brushfires in Australia, LaderaTech signs an agreement to deploy a product called FORTIFY.

As devastating fires burn across Australia, biomaterials company LaderaTech has signed an agreement in Australia to begin the rapid manufacturing and commercial sales of its FORTIFY product, said to be the only known long-term fire retardant that can be applied to prevent wildfires before they begin.

South Australian agricultural supply company, Agritrading Pty Ltd, will work to formulate commercial quantities of LaderaTech's FORTIFY product to fight against bushfires starting immediately. Details of the agreement were jointly announced today by Agritrading.

Australian organizations interested in the application of FORTIFY include:

  • South Australian NoTill Farmers Association
  • Adelaide and Mt Lofty Natural Resources Management Board
  • South Australian Department of Environment & Water
  • Australian Gas Networks Pty Ltd
  • New South Wales Roads & Maritime
  • Wespine Industries Pty Ltd
  • South Australian Power Networks
  • Manjimup Fire & Rescue Service
  • Victoria Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services
  • XAG Australia Pty Ltd
  • Agritrading Pty Ltd

FORTIFY offers season-long control from a single application and can be used to pre-treat high-risk areas well in advance of fires. The product provides a protective barrier that can prevent wildland fires from starting on "high-risk" landscapes subject to ignitions. FORTIFY™ is powered by an environmentally benign visco-elastic fluid that is made from renewable resources and exhibits critical properties that are impossible with traditional fire retardants.

"Our partnership has been working for some months on bringing FORTIFY to Australia and LaderaTech has pledged us total support in speeding up this process and getting the product deployed at scale in Australia this fire season," said Managing Director of Agritrading, Richard Milne.

"We at LaderaTech have been horrified by what we have seen with the Australian bushfires of the past weeks and want to play our part in assisting our friends in Australia by fast-tracking the new technology," said LaderaTech president and CEO, Wes Bolsen. "Fire retardants have traditionally been a tactical resource in fighting actively burning wildfires. FORTIFY™ incorporates new formulation technology developed at Stanford University and exclusively licensed to the company to help prevent the start of fires. It is currently the only product that is safe and effective to use as a preventative brushfire tool."

FORTIFY can be applied using standard equipment for simple application to a diverse range of landscapes, enabling season-long retention of a safe retardant. FORTIFY is equally efficient in the suppression of fires in wilderness areas, on roadsides and around network infrastructure – also major contributors to the Australian bushfires.

The South Australian NoTill Farmers Association (SANTFA), one of Australia's largest not-for-profit community groups, has been researching residual flame retardants on crop stubble for several years.

"Until now the tactical utility of retardants has severely limited our ability to adopt them. We needed a flame retardant that was safe to use on land where food is produced, easy to apply with standard equipment and a product that could offer long-term control from a single application early in the season – and FORTIFY is unique for that purpose," said SANTFA Research and Development Manager, Greg Butler. "In short, FORTIFY enables the pursuit of a new paradigm in the management of a wildfire from reactive suppression to proactive wildfire prevention and co-ordinated asset protection that doesn't drain resources during the actual fire."

"The fires in Australia are starting off 2020, but public utilities, insurance companies and government agencies in the United States are all looking at how to prevent wildfires this year as well, and not just react to them," said LaderaTech President and CEO, Wes Bolsen. "We stand ready to meet the global demand both in Australia and in the United States in 2020 with the first truly preventative and proactive wildfire product, through our newly established partnerships and this collaboration."

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