The red stuff dropped from airplanes to put out forest fires also acts as a fertilizer.


C-130E Hercules equipped with a Modular Airborne FireFighting System makes a Phos-Chek fire retardant drop in Southern California in October 2003.

Phos-Chek is a brand of long-term fire retardants, class A foams, and gels manufactured by Perimeter Solutions in Ontario, California and Moreland, Idaho.


Fire retardants

A Modular Airborne FireFighting System equipped C-130E Hercules from the 146th Airlift Wing is reloaded with Phos-Chek fire retardant to be dropped on the Simi Fire in Southern California on Oct. 28 (2003)

Phos-Chek fire retardants are manufactured as dry powders or as concentrated liquids and diluted with water prior to use. The retardant is applied ahead of wildfires to homes and vegetation by grou… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

10 thoughts on “The red stuff dropped from airplanes to put out forest fires also acts as a fertilizer.”

  1. sean488

    Here’s another something for you.

    So does the yellow powder in portable fire extinguishers.

  2. Mapbot11

    So thats why theres a tree growing out of my roof.

  3. ginger_whiskers

    Anyone else who was wondering: it’s DAP(18-46-0), MAP, rust for color, and thickener. An amazingly cheap formula.

  4. PM_Me_YOUR_Sexx_Pics

    I live in an area where this stuff gets dropped often, and I had always been bugged by it. I mean, obviously its better than an out of control fire, but I was always worried about the environmental impact. It never occured to me it could actually be positive for the environment. Nice bit of piece of mind there.

  5. PopsRacer1984

    Also called Soylent Red.

  6. pyrite_cat

    Phos-Chek is ammonium poly phosphate (fertilizer) plus the stuff in the photo contains iron oxide (optional for visibility).

  7. OK_Compooper

    So forests are just kind of lighting themselves on fire for food and water now? They’re worse than squirrels that hang around the campground.

  8. sarnobat

    … But not everything used as fertilizer should be dropped out of an airplane

  9. Close_enough_to_fine

    This is interesting.

  10. -Dutch-Crypto-

    I get the idea but what’s the point? Isn’t a forest fire really good for fertility already?

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