What looks to be a few feet from the house, the world's largest firefighting airtanker I've ever seen drops a fire retardant near homes in California. This stunning photo can be seen, along with others, at The Big Picture. If I were looking out my window at the time of this large plane flying by dropping red stuff, I would probably hide for cover.
I was curious as to what this red stuff was so I did a little research. I was still under the impression water was used. I guess we all can't be up to speed on all the advances...
This red stuff is a fire retardant that, of course, extinguishes fires. The retardant consists of ammonium sulfate or ammonium polyphosphate with attapulgite clay thickener or diammonium phosphate with a guar gum derivative thickener, colored with ferric oxide to mark where it's been dispersed. Whew! I hope I got that right. That is a motuhful.
So, not only does this extinguish fires and non-toxic, but it will also act as a fertilizer to promote new growth. How amazing is that? Pretty amazing.