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Inventors use sound to combat fire

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NEVADA CITY, Calif. (KTXL) -- The wildfire crisis in California has drawn the attention of some inventors who have come up with a way to put out fires without chemicals or water.

They have found a way to put out fires using sound waves.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s directive to find new firefighting technologies has taken hold in Nevada City where fire danger and insurance rates have become a call to action.

“It’s taken me by surprise, I never thought about using sound before,” Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum told FOX40.

It was originally created as a school project several years ago by engineering students Seth Robertson and Viet Tran, who wanted a firefighting system without using water or toxic chemicals.

“We went out to solve a problem, went out and solved it. And that’s all we planned on doing,” Robertson said. “The whole business thing kind of spiraled out and now it’s a whole new adventure.”

It took several years to obtain patents and create what’s called an acoustically driven vortex cannon that can project deep sound waves up to 100 feet away.

A drone company also bought into technology.

“We have units that we are designing to put on a side of a house or that can be mounted on sides of properties,” ARSAC Technologies Paul Dhillon told FOX40.

Dhillon says the technology can be equipped to fire vehicles to protect evacuation routes which would save lives by allowing people to move safely.

The inventors haven’t gotten much traction for their sound extinguishing device where wildfires are not a problem, but it’s a lot different in California.

“The energy we receive here is totally different than what we received when we were in Boston or Washington, D.C. I think people are more welcoming of innovative technology,” Tran said.

In fact, the company is counting on local input to develop its line of fire suppression devices, something residents are happy to do.

“What I’d love to see in our community is really look at our closest risk, our biggest risks as a community and really try to address that creatively,” Senum said.

The sound wave cannon is still looking to get permission for a live-fire situation, which is not possible on the east coast, but in California, controlled fire burns are more common.

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