Space-Age Brush Fire Brigade

Issue 5 and Volume 116.

Space-Age Brush Fire Brigade BRUSH FIRES, not rocket fuels, are the biggest fire protection headache of United Technology Corporation’s test center. On 5,200 acres of Northern California’s rolling grassy foothills, the company, a division of United Aircraft, is spending millions expanding its facilities for testing solid and liquid-fueled rocket motors that may put a man on the moon. In this sprawling space-age complex of mysterious chemical processes, where 5,000° flames light the sky and shake the ground, common brush blazes pose a serious problem. “It’s true,” says G. G. Stensler, UTC’s supervisor of plant protection for the huge test center at Coyote, 18 miles southeast of San Jose. “Our biggest worry is grass fires coming into our property from the surrounding country, where there are no firebreaks to protect us.” To meet the hazard, UTC has its own highly organized Auxiliary Defense Corps of volunteer fire fighters comprising 10 per…

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