Photos: Lolo Creek Complex Fire
Cathrine L. Walters/Missoula Independent
PHOS-chek employee Joe Hart stands among bags of phosphate-based fire retardant. The red powder gets mixed with water and is pumped into a large tank for helicopters to dip into. Hart says it is the only product that is long term in the way that it coats fuels, has no harmful effects, is effective up to 1/2" of rain and fertilizes the ground, but because of the phosphates cannot be dropped within 300 ft of a year-round water source.