These Tools Help Firefighters Start Fires

Firefighters have the coolest job. They get to play with fire each day and don't get in any trouble for doing so. Of all the firefighting jobs out there, the position of burn boss is by far the best.

Burn bosses are responsible for starting controlled-burn fires that prevent the devastating spread of wildfires. Not only are they allowed to start wildfires, they have some creative tools to get the job done. One of the biggest is the Helitorch, a helicopter that shoots outs a flammable gelled gasoline. The fire-breathing copter is so powerful it can set a mile of forest on fire at one time.

Of course, you have to be in Alaska to light a mile of forest ablaze without concern. Most locations need scaled-down tools designed specifically for precise burns. In these smaller areas, burn bosses use incendiary ping-pong balls that are dropped from helicopters or planes. They also use the Green Dragon, a water cannon-like device that shoots flammable spheres at a rate of 35 plastic balls per minute. [PopSci]