Wildland firefighters use fire retardant — the red stuff that air tankers drop — to suppress existing blazes. But Stanford researchers have developed a gel-like fluid they say makes fire retardant last longer and could prevent wildfires from igniting in the first place if applied to ignition-prone areas.

“Right now we’re sort of limited by the tools at hand and we wait for fires to start and then we go out and try to put them out,” said Stanford materials scientist Eric Appel.


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