Water Curtain Research

Prof. Albert Simeoni, of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has published an article titled “Physical modeling of forest fire spreading through heterogeneous fuel beds.”(1)

His web page is http://www.wpi.edu/academics/facultydir/as4.html

He states that “putting as much water as possible on the fire front, to stop it, becomes ineffective under extreme conditions.”

He also states that “Sprinklers randomly distributed in the borders of the wildland-urban interface could improve passive fire protection while saving water.”

Dual Chambered Hose

The proposed dual chambered hose, has one chamber designed with appropriately spaced holes to create a continuous spray curtain.
The other hose chamber is used to transport water to the next hose segment.

A paper titled “A Water Curtain for Controlling Experimental Forest Fires”(2) was written by Von J. Johnson in 1970. His system used 8 inch aluminum irrigation pipe which fed a series of sprinkler nozzles that were on 5 foot high risers. The total volume of water used was 1200 gpm.
Each nozzle furnished 10 gpm at a pressure of 35 psi.

Johnson concludes by stating “The water curtain appears to be particularly suited for controlling prescribed fires in areas having adequate water sources nearby and minimal topographical relief.” 

The author stated that “The system is designed to control prescribed fires and is not sufficiently mobile for controlling fast-spreading wildfires.” “Approximately twelve 8-hour man-days are required to assemble the full system under average field conditions.”

The Johnson and the Simeoni papers suggest that a hose with a water curtain option is a worthwhile tool for firefighters at the WUI.


(1) International Journal of Wildland Fire 2011, 20, 625-632

(2) Research Paper NC-48 (1970) USDA



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