Advanced Fire Blocking Materials for Enhanced Performance in WIldland Fire Shelters

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Wildland fire shelters are used by fire fighters as a last line of defense when trapped by an approaching wildfire. Recent fire fighter deaths in Yarnell Hill, Arizona (2013) exposed limitations in the current fire shelter. These shelters were redesigned in 2002, and since then new advanced materials have become available that could potentially provide significant performance improvements. Some of these improvements include: 

  • Enhance metalized reflective coatings (Atomic Layer Deposition)
  • Temperature reactive shape memory alloys
  • Low density "super-insulation" aero-gel fabrics
  • Enhanced composite layering strategies and adhesion techniques

This research project will evaluate the efficacy of these next generation material concepts for use in wildland fire shelters and re-examine testing methodologies and procedures used to assess their performance.

Download the project summary. (PDF, 371 KB)