Winds, drought, and high temperatures make Arizona extremely susceptible to wildfires during the summer months. In an effort to prevent pole failures (and subsequent power loss) due to fire damage, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) hired Osmose to apply Fire-GuardTM to 300 poles in an especially susceptible area. Fire-Guard is a latex-based flame-resistant coating designed to protect utility poles exposed to fire.
Just as crews began work, a wildfire began in the Coronado National Forest south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Rather than coating the 300 poles originally selected to receive Fire-Guard, SSVEC asked Osmose to change course and apply Fire-Guard to the poles in the path of the Monument fire.
Osmose crews mobilized, selected a starting point a safe distance in front of the fire and began clearing brush at the base of the poles and applying Fire-Guard. Crews worked seven days a week for the next four weeks to apply Fire-Guard to 1,100 poles.
The Monument Fire blazed for more than a week scorching 27,000 acres. In its 42-square mile path, the fire claimed 60 homes, 14 buildings, and 4 businesses, but failed to claim even one of the 1,100 poles that were coated with Fire-Guard!
Fire-Guard is a heavy-duty coating developed to protect all species and treatments of wood utility poles from damage when exposed to fire. Unlike many coatings, Fire-Guard is breathable and does not encapsulate moisture or promote decay. The latex-based formula provides excellent flame resistance and can withstand years of outdoor weathering. It has been rigorously tested by Osmose wood pole scientists and successfully used on in-service poles since 1991. Depending on the intensity and duration of the burn, Fire-Guard can typically withstand two to three burn incidents before re-application is necessary.
For information on Fire-Guard, contact Osmose Products Department at 716.319.3420 or [email protected].