No worries, they're talking about forest fires.
In something of a departure from its usual lines of business, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has filed a patent application for an artillery shell that would deliver up to six gallons of fire retardant per round, day or night, 24 hours a day, in any weather, regardless of fire conditions. Some guns could deliver fire retardant within 15 feet of a target at a range of 15 miles, according to the application.
Using a standard guide that estimates the speed at which a wildfire can spread, the patent application noted that on a large 883-acre fire it would take more than 34 hours to deliver 360,000 gallons of retardant by airplane or helicopter. Artillery shells with a three-gallon payload could deliver that much in about half the time, minimizing the area burned to a total of about 1,103 acres compared with a burned area of 3,130 acres when only a helicopter is used to dump retardant on the fire.
And at much less expense than helicopters and planes. An added plus: in the off season, the firing of an artillery shell could be used to announce the latest death of a participant in The Hunger Games.