Fight Wildfires, House Fires With Corn

Inside Dakota Ag

A Minnesota company has developed a corn-based gel that puts out fire and protects against fire better than water and costs half as much as foam.

Published on: July 2, 2012

Folks in Colorado could have used some corn to fight those fires around the Air Force Academy.

Yes, corn.

The EarthClean Corporation, South St. Paul, Minn., has made a powdered concentrate out of cornstarch and a thickening agent that smothers fire.

Called TetraKO, the concentrate is mixed directly into fire truck water tanks. When the mixture shoots from the fire hose, it turns into a thick gel that smothers flames and sticks and stays on the target – walls, ceiling, roofs, even trees, bushes and grasses – providing a blanket of fire protection that doesn’t run off like water or foam. When heated by flames, the gel releases steam which helps smother the fire and cuts the risk of rekindling.

Tests show TetraKO to be 91% more effective in knocking out structure fires than water alone and 86% more efficient than foam.

It also takes significantly less water to put out a fire with TetraKO than plain water and costs half as much as firefighting foams. It’s been independently certified as non-toxic to plants, fish and mammals.

You can learn more about TetraKO at

I could have used some a few years ago when I accidently burned down part of my shelterbelt.

But that’s another story.