Episode 354 Steve Wolf Harnessing Special Effects Skills Transcript

This transcript is from episode 354 with guest Steve Wolf.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

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Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today we have a little bit of a different episode for you. Uh, today my guest is Steve, Steve Wolf. And when Steve spoke to firefighters about what it would take to knock down some mega fires, they joke that [00:02:00] only a hurricane would do the job.

And so Steve and his team built them one. Uh, so we’re going to get into that in just a bit. Um, but. I met Steve a couple of weeks ago and, uh, was really intrigued by his story and, and everything that he was doing is really, uh, kind of creative usage of his background. And I want to talk to him about this background and, and how he implemented it to help out the firefighters, uh, fight some of these huge fires.

Um, but first I want to welcome you to the show, Steve. I’m really glad to have you here.

Steve Wolf: Hey, thank you so much, Scott. And I know your, your listenership is largely service members, and I want to express my deepest thanks to each of you for the sacrifice that you make.

Scott DeLuzio: I appreciate that. I’m sure all the listeners appreciate that. We, uh, um, you know, I think about the different generations of, of service members and think back to like the Vietnam era when [00:03:00] folks were coming back home and they’re getting spit on and they’re called names and treated like. And then I look at the generation that I’m a part of, you know, the more recent, uh, generation of veterans and, and folks like you, who, you know, express your gratitude and support and all of that.

Um, I’m just, I’m very grateful that there are folks like you out there who, who think the way that you think and, and express your gratitude the way that you do it. Um, because, uh, it certainly beats the alternative, you know, of, of what. The way folks were way back when.

Steve Wolf: It was horrible what those kids came home to in the

Scott DeLuzio: yeah. And, you know, I, I feel like, you know, whenever you see a Vietnam veteran, you know, they got the hat on or a shirt or, you know, whatever, it’s like, like, you kind of feel like you want to go thank them and support them too, because, um, even though their generation, their war was over years ago, um, they never got that support coming home.

And so, you know, it’s like, just go out of your way, shake their hand, [00:04:00] thank them for their service, welcome them home, that kind of thing. You know,

Steve Wolf: that’s a good point, Scott. You know, and I know a lot of people’s lives are affected for the rest of their lives by experiences they’ve been through, by hurts that they’ve had, and it’s never too late to go back and try to right those wrongs.

Scott DeLuzio: there you go. Yeah, exactly. So, for the listeners who aren’t familiar with you, I know I gave a little bit of your background, but can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and kind of, um, who you are, so we kind of have that baseline before getting into this episode?

Steve Wolf: Yeah, you bet, Scott. So, um, I’ve been a Hollywood special effects coordinator. Uh, for about 30 years, uh, worked on lots of big feature films, like Cast Away, uh, The Firm, uh, lots of episodes of America’s Most Wanted. Basically, if you see, you know, things burning up, people on fire, cars crashing, um, I’m the, the onset handyman, so to speak, who uses physics [00:05:00] and chemistry to create on a screen, the things that started out in an author’s imagination.

Uh, so it’s great to have an idea in your script, but if you can’t point a camera at it, how are you going to share that vision with an audience? So we have to figure out how to be the bridge from someone’s imagination to a reality that can be filmed and then shared with an audience. So it’s a very, uh, you know, very practical job.

Uh, it’s, it’s not glamorous at all. You’re, you know, minimum 12 hours a day, wrenches and hammers and twisting wires and, you know, mixing chemicals and. It’s, uh, it’s, it’s, I think probably the most fun a scientist could have,

Scott DeLuzio: I gotta imagine it is, because, I mean, you’re basically paid to get out there and blow stuff up and, you know, create fires and,

Steve Wolf: like your audience, right?

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, right? I

Steve Wolf: Mission oriented,

Scott DeLuzio: And you’re, you’re probably getting paid more too, you know?[00:06:00]

Steve Wolf: Uh, probably, yeah. Unfortunately, not that what I was doing was worth any more,

Scott DeLuzio: well, you know what though, it, it provides, um, it provides the entertainment and we all need that from, from time to time. We need to have some, um, you know, a little bit of relief and, um, you know, what, what good is, uh, you know, a war movie without the explosions or, you know, without, without any of that, that kind of special effects that, that go into it.

And, and you’re right. You need to have, uh, somebody who. Kind of knows what they’re doing and knows what chemicals to mix or what, more importantly, probably what chemicals not to mix. And

Steve Wolf: them, how far away should you stay?

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, how far away should you be and, you know, what kind of protective equipment is necessary when debris starts flying and all that kind of stuff.


Steve Wolf: there’s a lot of carryover between the skills of working in practical special effects and working in a military unit. That you’re, you know, you have to understand firearm safety. Uh, you have to understand explosive [00:07:00] safety. Uh, you have to be purpose oriented and mission driven. Uh, time constrained.

Somewhat budget constrained, working with what you have, uh, so yeah, there’s a lot of similarities, so I would think that, uh, and we can talk later on this, but I would think that there would be a lot of crossover opportunities for someone who had a background in these areas in the military, uh, to come put those same skills to use in private industry, in the film industry.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s actually a really good point and something I hadn’t even thought of, um, probably because I’m not involved in the film industry or special effects or anything like that, so it just didn’t register with me, but, um, yeah, I gotta imagine there is a lot of, uh, that Skill set that you learn in the military, you know, like you said, firearm safety and, and different things like that, uh, that, that could cross over.

I know there was that incident, uh, not too long ago. I think it was, was it Alec Baldwin who like shot [00:08:00] and killed somebody? Like you need to have somebody who knows how

Steve Wolf: killed, uh, Helena Hutchins, and I’m, I’m the expert witness for the prosecution

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, okay. I,

Steve Wolf: civil plaintiffs against him,

Scott DeLuzio: okay. You know,

Steve Wolf: saying, if you pick up a gun, you’re responsible for what happens with it.

Scott DeLuzio: right. I mean, that, that’s like basic of firearm safety. If you took any absolute basic course, it’s this, this is your responsibility. Now it’s in your hands, you know, um, you know, never point a gun at something you don’t intend on putting a hole in. Right. That’s like, that’s about as basic as it gets, I think.

Right. And.

Steve Wolf: it doesn’t matter who told you what, like the gun’s in your hands, you’re.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, check it, clear it, make sure, double check, you know, make sure that it’s clear, right?

Steve Wolf: Yes.

Scott DeLuzio: So that’s, I mean, and that’s another thing that you learned, I mean, basic training in the military. You learn how to make sure a weapon is cleared, make sure it’s, it’s [00:09:00] safe and, you know, you’re, you’re handling it properly.

You’re not pointing it at people that, you’re not, you know, messing around with it. It’s not a toy, you know, even if you know that the gun is cleared. You still don’t mess around with it, you know?

Steve Wolf: Well, it’s only cleared technically while it remains in your hands and under your control. So if I clear a gun, it’s cleared while I’m holding onto it. Once I hand it to you, the official status reverts to loaded until you clear it yourself.

Scott DeLuzio: And, and honestly, you know, you treat a firearm as if it’s loaded, no matter

Steve Wolf: You know, I don’t say, I don’t even play with the as if game, so I’ve, I’ve taught firearms for a long time, I don’t say, as if is the world of make believe, death is real, so let’s not approach death with talk of make believe, I say all guns are always loaded, that’s it, if it’s a gun, it’s loaded, if you take it in your hands and you personally go through the process of checking that it’s clear, it’s clear until you hand it to someone else or set it [00:10:00] down.

When you set it down, that gun is loaded again.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly.

Steve Wolf: know, we

Scott DeLuzio: you just have to use that, that kind of thinking, uh, for safety purposes, and that, that way you don’t end up shooting somebody or shooting yourself or shooting something that you didn’t intend

Steve Wolf: somebody by accident.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. So, um, so let’s talk about your transition from, you know, Hollywood special effects to fighting wildfires.

That is such, to me, it seems like such a vast difference between the two. Um, you know, from blowing stuff up intentionally to now trying to put out these fires that were maybe unintentionally set or sometimes intentionally set. Um, so. What inspired you to take your expertise and, and develop these technologies that you’ve developed?

And maybe we could talk about some of the technology that you developed too, um, for the purpose of fighting these, these wildfires.

Steve Wolf: Yeah. [00:11:00] So, um, the, the, the comparison between a military operation and a wildfire operation is, is fairly similar. You know, a large group of people going in with a kind of an overall plan of what they want to get done, uh, and access to some equipment. And then if you have something Special that you want to get done, you send in special guys to do that, you know, that have additional training, you know, whether, whether it’s the SEALs or Delta Force or whoever it is, right?

And, and they get access to kind of cooler toys, um, more training and less oversight, right? They’re just given a, go, go get this done. Tell us when it’s done, figure it out along the way. And so right now, you know, wildfires are, are, they’re, they’re called campaigns, just like a military campaign. Uh, and so once a campaign is underway, you have an overall objective, uh, but it’s largely fought with labor.

It’s very, [00:12:00] very manpower intensive. And once in a while, you know, you get an airplane that shows up and steals some media glory and drops some red sludge here and there. And when the cameras leave, you know, the The airplanes often leave too. Um, there’s, there’s like no big, mighty tech, uh, available to fight these wildfires.

It’s basically cut down trees in front of the fire. So you can deprive the fire of fuel, which is one of the things that fire needs, right? So fire has to have fuel. You have to have oxygen. You have to have heat. You have to have chemical reaction. So anything that you do that takes away any of those things, the fire goes out.

So traditionally, fuel deprivation has been the model, and guys with chainsaws, axes, rakes, shovels, uh, you know, basic hand tools, or what I would call medieval gardening tools, are, are what’s being sent out there to, to accomplish this purpose. And, you know, when fires were small and the [00:13:00] consequences of them were, you know, relatively meager, uh, that was fine.

The thing is that now fires are huge and the consequences are Immense. We’re now talking, you know, billions and billions of dollars in losses from these fires. So because the risk is so much higher, you know, the, the attack strategies have got to keep pace and they hadn’t because the, the fire industry is very slow to change, you know, like many industries, right?

Um, so, uh, what I wanted to find out was if you took away all the limitations of how we’ve done it in the past and say, this is a fresh problem, new start. Clean slate, how would you go about attacking fires now? Don’t tell me about what you did 6, 000 years ago with Stone Age tools. What would it take to put these fires out now?

And people said, well, you can’t really, because the wind is in control of the fire. Okay, well, I [00:14:00] disagree with the first person that, first part, there’s never you can’t. I mean, this is America, this is the land of you can. Uh, right, we’re Americans, not Americans,

Scott DeLuzio: Not Americans.

Steve Wolf: Right. So, but, but, a great insight in saying the wind owns the fire.

Well, if you know that the wind owns the fire, then you have to own the wind. And essentially, if you could own the wind, you could control virtually any wildfire you wanted. So how do we control the wind? Well, oh, you can’t. No, actually you can. Jet engines make tremendous amount of wind exhaust. It’s coming out with great velocity and volume.

And if you point These artificial winds made by jet engines at a fire, you can control the direction the fire goes in and the fire always goes where the predominant wind is going. So if you have these, you know, 20 mile an hour adverse winds driving a fire towards your city and you push back with a wall of 200 mile an hour winds going the opposite [00:15:00] way, what do you think’s gonna happen to the fire?

Scott DeLuzio: Different direction. Right.

Steve Wolf: It’s going to go out, right? You’re going to basically push those flame tips back over the area that’s already burned. You’re going to use convection to push the heat away. You’re going to be driving retardants at the fire front, which simultaneously put the fire out and coat the fuels in front of the fire with retardants.

That fire is not going anywhere except, you know, down into the fire grave.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure.

Steve Wolf: So, so that was the basic precept that I had that, uh, if you could control the wind, which you can do using jet engines, then you could have a really powerful technology that would get these fires under control. And so I started Team Wildfire.

Uh, with, uh, some engineers and some really great fire chiefs, uh, Andy Ehman, who were fire chiefs here in Boulder, Colorado. And I invited them over and I said, look, this is, this is what I’m thinking about. Am I nuts? Uh, [00:16:00] and they said, well, yes, you’re nuts. And this is also a good idea that could work. Uh, so they both left their day jobs and came on full time to help develop the technology and then get the technology out in the hands of the people who need it.

Scott DeLuzio: Now,

Steve Wolf: been quite a mission.

Scott DeLuzio: it sounds like an amazing idea because you’re right. The, the, the folks who go out there with the chainsaws and the rakes and the shovels and the things like that, um, ton of manual labor to, to do that. It takes a lot, plus it’s dangerous, right? Because, uh, shifting in the wind, like you said, you, you can’t control the wind without, you know, technology like yours, but a shift in the wind could now.

Put them in a place where they’re stuck and firefighters have been killed, uh, in these, uh, these wildfires. And it’s a dangerous job. And, um, you know, any, anything we could do to make it safer, uh, I think is certainly worth a shot, right?

Steve Wolf: right. You not only get this, [00:17:00] uh, artificial wind technology using the jet engines, you mount it on trucks that are like logging trucks that can go to where the fire is. So you don’t have to wait till the fire gets to the nearest road. And you make that equipment remote controlled capable and autonomous capable so that you stop putting firefighters in the line of fire.

I’m sure the, you know, the military and DARPA is working on the same things, right? The, the, the soldier of the future won’t be a human, right? They’ll, they’ll be a human controlling it and, uh, you know, setting strategies and objectives, but technology will figure out how to accomplish the purpose.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, in a lot of In a lot of ways, that’s, that’s already being done with like drones and, and they have like the robots that go into, you know, like, uh, like the bomb squad or EOD, you know, they, they go in and they, they use the robots and, and yeah, there’s a human controlling it, but he could be on the other side of the planet, controlling

Steve Wolf: That’s right. They literally are [00:18:00] right there sitting in a silo somewhere in Wisconsin, you know, operating a drone over the Middle East.

Scott DeLuzio: exactly, you know, and so, so that type of thing can happen. And, and so, yeah, why, why are we putting firefighters out there in the middle of the forest where they’re, they’re killing themselves almost like, like with all this, this hard work when we can put this fire out and like, how, how effective is it as far as like, how quickly can, uh, a fire be put out?

And I suppose that’s a loaded question. Cause it depends on the size of the fire, I’m sure too, but, um,

Steve Wolf: all questions are always loaded. Be careful when you write that thing.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah. Right. I’m pointing it in your direction right now, but, um, uh, you know, for a, you know, maybe an average size forest fire, like how long would it take for this type of technology to put out the fire?

Steve Wolf: Much faster and much more safely. And much more efficiently in terms of [00:19:00] water. Because when you drive a stream of water, you know, the cross section of that stream is solid. Right? So only the water on the surface of that stream interacts with the fire.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh,

Steve Wolf: of the, most of that stream just shoots right through the fire and lands on the ground on the other side.

Whereas when you turn the water into mist, you multiply that surface area of your water and your retardants by thousands of times. So you’re able to absorb much more heat. You’re able to have the chemicals that are in your retardant. interact much more effectively with the fire, you’re able to spread it out over a much larger area.

And all of your firefighting liquids remain airborne where the fire is much longer, right? They remain airborne until they hit the fire. They don’t just punch a hole through the fire and waste all that water. So 10 times more efficient. On the use of [00:20:00] water and, and certainly faster because you can cover a wide swath.

This is basically, you know, a shotgun versus a rifle. blasting out a large cone of air that contains misted retardants. Uh, so you’re obviously, you’re going to be able to put multiple trees out at once, strip the burning leaves off of them, uh, push all that, that fire content back. And. Because of the number of droplets you have, they’ll bind to embers that would normally just take off, and that’s called ember cast.

So if you can bind that ember cast and precipitate it, then you can stop additional fires from starting. And these other fires start, you know, 2 miles, 40 miles. You know, quite a distance away. So that’s, that that’s called spotting. When, when one fire becomes multiple fires,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And then, then they become, they, they kind of converge together and become this massive, huge

Steve Wolf: what [00:21:00] happened with my hair, right? Little spot of baldness here, here, here. And then the spots all converge

Scott DeLuzio: And then, then, then it’s all gone.

Steve Wolf: uh, pyro effective haircut.

Scott DeLuzio: You got scorched earth going on up there.

Steve Wolf: Right. Yeah. Nothing to burn though.

Scott DeLuzio: But, um, so, so that’s actually, um, a good way to think of it. I never thought of, I’m not a scientist, so I don’t think of these things, but, uh, you know, I don’t,

Steve Wolf: be, you might be Scott.

Scott DeLuzio: oh, I might have, I never was really good at science classes in school when, when I, when I took them, but,

Steve Wolf: I mean, either.

Scott DeLuzio: So maybe I, I might have a little bit in me, but, but when, once in you, uh, started explaining it, it made a whole lot of sense because that, that one giant stream of water might seem like it’s, it’s really effective, but yeah, it’s punching through and then there’s a lot of wasted water. But whereas, uh, those droplets that, you know, thousands and thousands, millions probably have droplets going out, um, there.

Their [00:22:00] surface area is able to cover, uh, a whole lot more as opposed to just that, that one stream of

Steve Wolf: 95 percent of the water shot in a hose is wasted.

Scott DeLuzio: Wow.

Steve Wolf: Well, and if you think about where these fires occur and the logistics. That people went through to get that water there only to waste most of it. That’s hugely expensive. The, the carbon footprint of transporting water to these fires is enormous.

So if you can put out the fire with less water, you know, you’ve increased the efficiency of your campaign tremendously.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I was just thinking about exactly what you just said. Um, you know, these, these fires are super remote a lot of times. They’re, they’re out in the middle of nowhere and where’s the closest fire hydrant, you know, the closest, uh, you know, water source may, it might be a lake, um,

Steve Wolf: It might be a lake, a swimming pool.

Scott DeLuzio: Something like that.

Yeah. And they have to figure out how to get the water from there to, to the, [00:23:00] uh, to the fire, and that’s not an easy task. So yeah, the less water that they could, they, they need to use the better. Um, and I think most importantly, though, the safety factor that we talked about is huge. It makes it tremendously safer for the firefighters involved.

They don’t have to be standing. Literally at the front line of the fire, they, they could be, you know, a mile or more, probably even away, controlling this thing remotely and be relatively safe, um, while, while they’re doing it. And so, um, I’d imagine they probably want to have multiple, uh, units deployed to the area to, to take care of it.

No. Yeah.

Steve Wolf: Absolutely. Yeah. And you want to have them stored nearby.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah,

Steve Wolf: So, so I think of this a lot the way you might think about, uh, helicopters on the roof of hospitals, right? It’s sitting there all the time in the areas [00:24:00] where it might be needed in case you need it. And then if you need it, you got it,

Scott DeLuzio: you need it. It’s there.

Steve Wolf: You know, you don’t want your 9 1 1 dispatcher like going through the yellow pages trying to find helicopter companies while you’re bleeding out at the intersection, right?

He’s like, Hey, we want that guy on standby. We want him, you know, not more than 10 minute flight time from anywhere in its service area. And if it’s 12 minutes away, then we want to go to the next helicopter over that’s only eight minutes away,

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right.

Steve Wolf: Like a cellular network of response and we want to have the same thing for Team Wildfire’s technology is that, uh, that municipalities could have a, what they call a pre positioned asset contract or an exclusive use contract, guaranteeing that they have that equipment where they need it on standby.

So if anything happens, we can respond quickly because no, you know, whether it’s a thousand acre fire, a hundred thousand acre fire, a multi million acre fire. It all starts with a single point [00:25:00] of ignition,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Steve Wolf: and you know, your best strategy is to get there fast and knock it down before it’s a big problem.

Scott DeLuzio: exactly. Yeah. The, the, the faster you can get that initial ignition point, uh, taken out, then there’s less likelihood that it’s going to spread to become these massive mega fires and And that having that, um, uh, the asset deployed all over the place. So you don’t have to wait for, you know, if you’re in Colorado, you don’t have to wait for something from California to arrive or something, you

Steve Wolf: Right,

Scott DeLuzio: drastic like that.

You know, um, it’s just, it’s just there, just like you call 9 1 1 for a heart attack or a car accident or something. And within a couple of minutes, the, the ambulance shows up and. Is there to help, you know, you want to have those, those sorts of assets around, um, got to imagine it’s pretty [00:26:00] expensive to, uh, have those assets, but the flip side is the, the expense of the fire, if you just let the fires burn, right?

So, um, you know, you got, you got to weigh that cost. Do you want the fires or do you want. Do you want to be able to prevent the

Steve Wolf: Right. Do you want the helicopters? Do you want people dying of, uh, level one trauma injuries? Right? So it’s a trade off and if you just looked at it economically, uh, you know, if, if our technology costs the same as about as a helicopter, um, and a helicopter is saving individual lives on an occasional basis, uh, whereas the Team Wildfire Hurricanes on Wheels are saving entire communities, it’s more cost effective in terms of, uh, dollars invested versus dollars lost,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, I’ve, I’ve been fortunate enough to never have to have been involved in fires like that, any of these big wildfires, but, um, you know, I, I’ve seen the videos of, of people and their, their houses are just, [00:27:00] Devastated and a whole communities, you know, the torch, um, and, uh, seeing people driving through areas that the fire is coming through, it’s like, at some point, you don’t know if you’re going to be able to make it through that fire and turning around isn’t an option either.

And so

Steve Wolf: Yeah, well, the roads are often on fire, the cars fail themselves because the oxygen levels are so depleted that the cars themselves don’t function. One of the technologies that we are patenting is an oxygen supplementation technology that goes basically into the intake of your engine, where the air would normally come in, we can feed oxygen directly in there, so that Your fire trucks, your ambulances, your police cars don’t just crap out because the oxygen level of the ambient air went so low because of the fire consuming all the oxygen. So there’s a lot of, you know, little intricacies down the, you know, downstream, [00:28:00] uh, that have to be considered if you want to have a reliable technology.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Because if you can’t, if you can’t get the truck there with the technology, that’s going to save everything. If you can’t get it to where it needs to be, then it’s,

Steve Wolf: Or if you can’t get it out when you need it, the fire comes through, the oxygen levels drop, the ignition fails, and now the fire comes and eats your, your big million dollar truck.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Exactly. And that’s, that’s. That’s not an ideal situation either. Um, so

Steve Wolf: you talk about people trying to get away from the fire, so,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, I mean, if you could have those,

Steve Wolf: side that’s, you know, we, that way we’d say that’s their evacuation route.

Well, evacuation routes right now are soft. That means that they’re vulnerable to fire. You have pine trees on both sides of your evacuation route, and they burn and fall over. You know, that’s it. You’re not going anywhere. You’re, you’re going to die in the fire. So evacuation route hardening is another way we want to use this technology.

Basically drive down a [00:29:00] road, jet engines pointing left and right, driving retardants and suppressants into the trees in advance of a fire. Some of these retardants can last, you know, months or more. So, once a month, you drive down that road, you make sure that the trees on either side have been made resistant to fire, so that if people have to leave, they can.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, and that, that’s a more of a preventative measure. Um, you know, it’s pre the fire happening, but again, you never know when or where a fire is going to take place. So

Steve Wolf: You know, they’re getting pretty good at that, actually. There’s some companies that are developing pretty high predictive accuracy with their ability to tell you where and when the next fire will be. Now, getting people to listen is another story, uh, you know, but, but we can’t tell them.

Scott DeLuzio: it’s, it’s that, um, that mindset of, Oh, it’s just, it’s not going to happen to me, or it’s not going to happen to happen to [00:30:00] my community, that, that type of thing that happens to other people. I don’t have to worry about that, but it’s like, yeah, okay, fine. Until you do have to worry about it. And then you really got to worry about it and you gotta, you

Steve Wolf: There’s not time to worry about it then. So let’s just, let’s just assume it’s going to happen to you. Let’s go ahead and make your plan. Uh, you know, have what you need in your car, have a couple of weeks of your prescription meds, have water, have food, have a way to get in touch with your family members.

If you’re coming from different places, have a rendezvous point. Uh, yes. Go ahead and do that now. Because you will neither have the time nor the presence of mind to do that at the time. So you, you, you pre plan and then you can actually reduce your risk of fire for your home. Communities supposedly do this on a community wide basis, but I think it’s preferential to do what you can actually have control over, which is your house, right?

You [00:31:00] can, you know, you can pre apply long term retardants, you can use intumescent paints, you can seal up your gutters properly with screens so they’re not collecting flammable leaves. You can seal the vents to your house so that embers don’t go in there. That’s embers that spread fire to houses. The embers land and they, they start burning up the wooden mulch around your garden that’s touching your house, right?

Or the embers get into the vents up in your attic and light your attic on fire. And when firefighters are driving past houses and they’re deciding what’s salvageable and what’s not, if your roof’s on fire, they’re driving by. That’s it. That’s, that’s, that’s considered, you know, that it’s on its way to being lost.

So let’s not waste time with that, right? There’s a triage process. Only so many trucks, only so many firefighters, almost so much water. So if they’re going to expend those resources, they’re going to do it on the most survivable houses. So if you allow your house to be vulnerable because you haven’t [00:32:00] taken the proper precautions, then, uh, that’s what’s going to happen.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it’s, it’s unfortunate, but that’s, uh, they have to, uh, there’s only so many resources and they have to pick and choose the ones that they know that they’re going to be able to salvage. And, and, uh, if, yeah, like you said, if, if, if

Steve Wolf: If, if they even have the option,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Steve Wolf: I live up in the mountains over Boulder. And, uh, two years ago this month, uh, December 30th, two years ago, uh, the Marshall Fire swept through, uh, the towns of Superior Marshall Lewisville, and demolished a thousand homes in the course of a day. It was the most destructive fire in the state and there was not a darn thing they could do about it.

100 mile an hour winds were driving these fires. The firefighters would decide, hey, let’s save this house. They’d pull up. They’d point a hose before they knew it. The hose went limp because the fire had just eaten the hose. And those fires were coming [00:33:00] faster than they could get the trucks out of there.

So what we’re seeing is really catastrophes on a level we haven’t seen before. As you guys know, in the military, like, the response has to be proportional to the threat, right? If they’re coming at you with howitzers, you know, you can’t stand there with your 45.

Scott DeLuzio: right, exactly. You got, you got it

Steve Wolf: your 45 is, and it’s time proven, like, it’s not the tool for the job.

Scott DeLuzio: right. And I was going to say that earlier too, because, you know, the, the technology that you’re talking about, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a great technology, but this is the type of thing that you, you want to use on, you know, this big scale type, type fires, um, you know, you’ve got to pick the right tool for, for the job.

Um, you know, this is, sounds like the perfect job, uh, Perfect tool for, um, you know, these wildfires. I don’t know if you necessarily would, uh, want the, the jet engine type, uh, technology to be pointing at [00:34:00] somebody’s house, uh, although it may work, but you’re not going to be able to get inside to the house with this

Steve Wolf: Depends whose house it is,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s true. That is true. You’re not getting in my house with that type

Steve Wolf: I mean, there, there are times where you could use this technology to point at a, uh, at a test house. If you want to see, does this house really stand up to the hundred mile an hour winds that the manufacturer says it would. So you could test basically what, what would the impact of a hurricane be on a home by using a mobile hurricane? Um, but that would be destructive testing. It’s just not what most people would want their houses subjected to.

Scott DeLuzio: Like I said, you’re not doing it on my house.

Steve Wolf: Yeah, right,

Scott DeLuzio: Um, but thinking about things like, okay, so, so houses is one thing, but, but also like military installations, um, you know, we, we’re, you know, bringing it back to the military, right. But from a national defense perspective, um, you know, if you have a military [00:35:00] base that’s getting overrun by wildfires or, or something like that, that that’s.

Steve Wolf: No different than terrorists, right? I mean, it is dead, non functional, it’s non functional, and the cause doesn’t matter, so your response has to be equal to the threat’s capabilities, regardless of what the threat is. If I told you, uh, the town of Marshall is going to be torched to the ground by, uh, arsonists, you know, terrorist arsonists, you’d say, wow, well, we’re going to launch a hundred billion dollar military response and stop that from happening.

Right. But, uh, if we say, well, that town is going to be burned to the ground by fire. Well, you know, we’ll send some fire departments. We’ll do what we can, you know, Hey, I mean, the thousand people are still out of their homes. So, what’s the difference whether it was a foreign enemy or, you know, a domestic chemical reaction, pyrolysis?

Like, the effect is the same, so [00:36:00] I think that the response level should be the same, and particularly in the military bases. I’m sure you’ve got, uh, fans of your podcasts out there at Vandenberg Air Force Base. And you know, every year they’ve got to pack up the whole base, you know, send thousands of aircraft, thousands of people, you know, send them down to New Mexico because fire season’s coming through.

The base is unusable. They’re worried about the airplanes being burned up. They’re worried about the personnel. You know, not being able to survive the smoke. Well, what does that cost? And this is, you know, incalculable expense and nuisance. Uh, you know, but whereas if you could guarantee that the base wouldn’t burn because you had applied retardant over, let’s say a two mile protective barrier all around it, then you, then you could say, okay, guys, it’s going to get a little smoky here, but we’re not going to lose the base.

You know, everyone keep it together. The fire’s going to come through. It’s going to go around us. It’ll be scary. Uh, we’ll, we’ll cough a little [00:37:00] bit, but we don’t have to relocate. We don’t have to evacuate this base. And that, that scenario is repeated, you know, on bases around the world. So I think the ability to protect these bases and the assets and the people in them is something that would be very, uh, financially efficient to do.

You know, using this technology, basically like a giant spray can of fire retardant that you could surround your base with.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, I’m, I’m even thinking of it like, you know, military base, you know, with the guard towers on, you know, all around the base, like why not have these big jet engines around the base that can just be turned and pointed to the area that maybe a fire is coming and, and take care of it that way, the same way you would.

If go back to the terrorism example, you got terrorists who are trying to overrun a base or something like they’re, they’re coming up and they’re [00:38:00] attacking in a certain direction. Well, that’s where you’re going to turn your firepower and you’re going to go shoot in that direction. So why not shoot, you know, the water and the, the, the retardants and the, the just blow the fire away, uh, that way, literally, literally blow it away.

Steve Wolf: right. You literally could blow it away. And so you could certainly have fixed installations. Uh, in a fixed installation, because there’s a limited range on the jet engine, just like there’s a limited range on a rifle, you have to wait until the threat gets within the effective range of that tool.

Whether it’s the jet engine, the rifle or whatever. Uh, whereas, uh, if you supplement that capability with a mobile capability, then you can go out to that fire while it’s still two miles out and you can take care of it there rather than, you know, letting it, uh, consume all the vegetation. Uh, you know, and get all the way to you.

Although that is also, you know, a strategic thing you can do, right? You could say the fire’s coming. Do we want to fight the fire on its terms or our terms? So you [00:39:00] light a fire right in front of your base, and then you use the jet engines to push that fire forward a mile, two miles, five miles, and you control the burn off of vegetation around your base.

So now when this huge wall of fire comes. It stops when the fuel ends. And so you’ve, you’ve made a, basically a pre burned out, uh, fire barrier, a fire break with, with controlled winds. So that’s another way you can apply the same technology to increase your safety. You can

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And there’s, like you said, there’s, uh, you take any one of the components away that, that creates a fire. It goes, goes out. So, um, you know, take away that fuel source, uh, the vegetation and, you know, all the, the plant life that’s around. Um, now it has nothing left to consume and it’s gonna just die out on it on its own kind of naturally.

So, um, so that’s, that’s another way to, uh, to do it that a lot of different ways, right? Um,[00:40:00]

Steve Wolf: the real name of that policy, which is the scorched earth policy,

Scott DeLuzio: right. Exactly. Exactly. Um,

Steve Wolf: Nothin to drink. You know, nothing.

Scott DeLuzio: so going back your Hollywood. Uh, you know, uh, uh, special effects career. Um, we were talking in the beginning a little bit about the crossover opportunities for, uh, folks who were in the military and, um, some of the skill sets and stuff that might be, um, useful in that type of career.

Um. And I hadn’t really considered some of the, the crossover dynamics there. Um, what, what do you see from your, your side of things, uh, that, uh, a service member who maybe is getting out of the military, looking for a new career. Uh, what, what do they bring to the table, uh, when it comes to the special effects, uh, side of things?


Steve Wolf: Well, uh, really, [00:41:00] it goes on two sides. Uh, the first side is that they understand command structure. Uh, they understand being mission focused. Uh, safety minded. And teamwork. Uh, and these are things that are incredibly valuable on a film set. You don’t have just, you know, 250, 300 people milling around all doing their own thing.

There’s a command structure, there are departments, each department has responsibilities. Uh, this way of doing business or conducting affairs is You know, deeply instilled in people who have a military background, as well as respectfulness. The number one thing I look for when I’m hiring people is people who are polite. That’s, that’s 80 percent of it, right? Polite, good listeners, prepared. Physically fit, psychologically fit. They all start with P, right? Positive attitude, [00:42:00] persistent. So, you know, planning, but, but, you know, you give me a kid with no experience, but who has good manners, a good attitude. Uh, understands the hierarchy and willing to listen, you know, I’ll, I’ll turn that, that guy into, or girl into, you know, an amazing special effects tech.

If they bring prior experience even better and the experiences that they could bring would be working with pyrotechnics, working with fire suppression, working with firearms, uh, working with. Hydrology, you know, are we making a flood in this thing? Are we making rain? Someone who has engineering experience.

Someone who has chemistry background. Someone who has some understanding of basic physics. These are all things that are You know, taught in the military in different branches, different sectors and specialty. You know, I’m sure that there’s nothing that we build in our effects shop that a good aircraft mechanic couldn’t figure out how to do, you know, [00:43:00] with the experience that they got, you know, in the air force or preparing, uh, aircraft for the military, right?

It’s build this thing. Here are these tools. Here are the materials. Make it work. Now, when it comes to aircraft, of course, we have much more stringent standards. Uh, there’s not just get this thing in the air by any means necessary, right? You have to follow some protocols, otherwise, uh, the risks can be huge.

Scott DeLuzio: for sure. Yeah.

Steve Wolf: you know, and, and the same thing here though, right? If we have an actor and he’s going to be running down a road and there’s stuff blowing up all around them, you know, we need to make sure that the stuff that’s blowing up is safe, that the explosions are the least amount of explosive necessary to create the effect.

So we’re not, you know, Pushing over the danger. Virtually everything that you see blown up on a movie is artificial. Not that it was created digitally, but that it’s been replicated out of materials that are frangible. Things that can blow up very easily. So the cars, you know, they’re, [00:44:00] they could be cast in urethane foam, the walls, boxes that explode, you know, they’re, they’re made out of balsa wood so that we’re not creating dangerous projectiles.

Uh, so. In movies, the objective is to create the look of danger and I, I would just, just define this career as, you know, safely using science to create the illusion of danger. So, we don’t want to put anyone at risk. You know, we’re not saving lives out there. We’re not saving democracy. We’re just providing a couple hours of entertainment.

So this is certainly not an area where it’s worth anybody getting hurt.

Scott DeLuzio: No, for sure. Yeah. You don’t want any, any injuries or deaths or you don’t want any, anything to happen like

Steve Wolf: But, but the potential is always there, right? You’re working in a remote area, you’re working in a non OSHA environment, you’re working with electricity, you have all the lighting equipment, uh, you have vehicles, um, and then when you get to the specifics of it, you have fire, you have rain, you [00:45:00] have explosions.

So, the ability to have really good situational awareness is, is critical, right? I might be focusing on what I’m doing and, and if I don’t notice that the lighting guy didn’t tether You know, the, the lighting pulls properly, they could fall and kill me. So there’s a lot of potential for, you know, cross injuries between departments.

So someone who’s used to keep your eyes open, keep your 360 going, uh, pay attention to the risks, uh, notice, notify and respond, you know, that, that’s critical. And so, uh, my experience is that people who come from a military background, uh, have a pretty good sense of. Adeptness in all these areas and that many of the actual job skills translate one to one.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, I mean, in the military there, like you said, there is that situational awareness that just gets ingrained in you. Beaten into you. Like you, you [00:46:00] have it. Right. Um,

Steve Wolf: more and more so, right? Because the, the, the enemy in many cases is not some guy overseas that you have to deploy. It’s some guy sitting next to you in the barracks who, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: who, who forgets?

Steve Wolf: throws, yeah, pops a valve. Right. And I mean, that happens too. So your awareness is, is always not just when you’re deployed.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. And there’s so many things that, that could go wrong. Uh, so having that situational awareness, but also with attention to detail. Um, so that, you know, if you’re, if you’re supposed to set a charge that goes off, you know, somewhere to the left, um, you know, where, where the explosion goes off to the left and you, you set it the wrong way, and now it’s going to go off to the right where the actors are.

Running through like, that’s a bad thing. You don’t want that. You want to, you want to make sure that it’s, it’s going the right way. So, um, you know, so you have, uh, that attention to detail as well.

Steve Wolf: Yeah. And manual control too, [00:47:00] right? You, you, you know, I never set a string of explosives to be fired by a computer. The computer doesn’t know if the actor tripped and now we’re going to waste the other thousand explosives because the whole thing just goes off. Right. Or, or they, they stumbled and they fell on where the charge is like you’re watching and you’re triggering and you’re really present, and you have complete control over, over what’s going on, otherwise people are going to get hurt and there’s not a lot of departments typically like, all right, if the caterer doesn’t refrigerate the food, you know, some people might get sick, right.

If the, the, the drivers are late, you know, you got a problem, but for the most part, you know, people aren’t going to die on a movie set. Unless it’s special effects or armory departments did something wrong where they weren’t focusing. It’s not complicated. You know, you just have to pay attention.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right.

Steve Wolf: You, you can teach, I could teach any five year old how to clear a firearm.

Right. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s [00:48:00] simple. And, and I have, uh, I. But, but if you don’t do it, you know, the training doesn’t mean anything.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Exactly. And it’s, it’s something that should be taught, uh, to, to people because, um, there may be situations where a firearm is presented or, uh, like just

Steve Wolf: kids are going in and playing at somebody’s house and the, and those kids over there, it’s like, Hey, you want to see my dad’s gun? He doesn’t know that I know where he keeps it. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: you, you don’t want, you know, one of the first things I, I taught my kids was, um, you know, first off, if There is a gun present and there’s, there’s not a, you know, adult nearby who’s in control of it, uh, get out of the situation. You don’t want to be there because, cause you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Uh, that’s how accidents happen. Get out of there. Um, I’ve, I’ve taught them firearm safety. They, they’ve, they know how to shoot guns. They know how to handle them safely. Um, and they’ve done it many times and. [00:49:00] Nobody’s

Steve Wolf: And there’s no, there’s no mystery taboo created. Like, Ooh, what is that magical thing? I want to touch it. It’s like, no, I’ve handled it. My dad takes me out. My mom takes me out. There’s no mystery. I enjoy doing it. I’m not allured to it and I know it’s dangerous. And I know this is something I do with my parents or I do with my scout leader or I do with my, you know, firearms instructor or my coach.

Like there’s, there’s a place for it where it’s safe and then there’s, you know, the rest of the world where it’s not.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, it’s just like, you know, using the oven or, or the stove or something, it’s like, you, you know, not to put your hand over it because that, that you’re going to burn yourself. Right. And, and that, that, that’s going to hurt. So you don’t do that and you learn these things over time and the better training you have, the better, um, You know, life experiences that you have, uh, with these things, then the, the better off you’re going to be.

But, um, you’re talking about the military personnel who have gone through the training of how to use firearms, how to, [00:50:00] uh, handle explosives and how to, um, you know. Use all of these things in a safe way, uh, I think just goes to that point of, uh, what we were talking about before that there, there are some crossover opportunities there.

And I wasn’t intending on even talking about this, uh, aspect of it in this episode, but, um, you, you kind of mentioned that and I, it kind of triggered something for me. I was like, you know, this is a good point because people do get out of the military and, um, they don’t know what that second act is going to be, be like, uh, what are they going to do?

And, uh, personally, that’s not something that just jumps to the top of mind. Like, what would I be qualified or capable of even doing? Hollywood special effects is not one of the things that jumps to mind.

Steve Wolf: Well, it should be.

Scott DeLuzio: It should be, it really should be, um, uh, because clearly there’s a need for it, you know, there’s, there’s movies being made all the time and, and people need, uh, those, those, uh, people making [00:51:00] the movies, they need to have the special effects in there.

Um, there’s also folks who are getting out of the military and are scratching their head saying, I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Uh, so, you know,

Steve Wolf: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Why not check that out?

Steve Wolf: So if they did decide, you know, that’s, that’s the next question. Cause, uh, I’ll probably get a bunch of emails after this. How do I get into the effects business?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Well,

Steve Wolf: So. Uh, so it’s one of the, I wouldn’t say it’s like you have to know someone, but I would say someone has to know you.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay.

Steve Wolf: And, and so that means you got to get your face out there and you have to go to work for somebody, uh, even if it’s starting out as a volunteer or an intern to the point where you have their trust because no one is, no one is going to risk their reputation or the lives of the rest of the crew on someone that they don’t know.

So it has nothing to do with your resume. Where you went to school, you know, which theater of combat you were in, like, I got to [00:52:00] know you. I got to know that no matter what happens, you keep a level head. That when I say, you know, walk to that truck, get me a fire extinguisher, come back here. No delays, right?

That means that something’s on fire and I know I’ll help, but you know, we’re not trying to trigger an alarm, right?

Scott DeLuzio: Sure.

Steve Wolf: My bad if the fire extinguisher wasn’t already where it needed to be, um, but the way, you know, the way I got in is I, I identified a special effects coordinator, uh, Gary Zeller. I had seen his work on a lot of movies.

I wanted to go to work for him and I track him down and I call him and I say, Gary, you know, starting next week, I would like to come to work for you. I’ll be your coffee boy. I’ll carry your luggage. I’ll clean your tools. I’ll, you know, spray, uh, you know, anti rust stuff on your, your toys, whatever you need me to do.

And you don’t have to pay me. I just want the opportunity to be around you and learn from you. So he says, you know, fine, you know, see you Tuesday, you know, see you Monday, whenever. Yeah, two weeks later, [00:53:00] you know, he hired me and a year later we started a business together. Uh, but getting out, getting a one on one relationship with the person that you want to work with is, is key.

And that’s kind of a lost art, the idea of mentorship, um, internship. But as far as I know, that’s the only way into this business.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, that’s a good point because, um, especially for service members, uh, I, I’m drawing a blank on the name of the program right now, but, um. There’s a program where for the last, I think it’s six months of your, uh, your military service, uh, you’re still technically a soldier, airman, Marine, whatever, um, you’re, you’re still.

Uh, a service member, but you can go do an internship in the field that you’re, you’re interested in. You still get paid by the military, uh, as, as if you were doing your regular job, whatever it was, but you’re off [00:54:00] doing this internship in whatever

Steve Wolf: brilliant. That’s really

Scott DeLuzio: and so. You were saying that, and I was like, that’s, that, it makes it even more perfect.

Like it, it sounded like a

Steve Wolf: If you say, look, for the next six months, I’m going to come work with you on set, uh, put me to work however you need. Uh, I’m going to use, you know, I, I don’t have a financial need right now. Uh, so I have the opportunity to prove myself. What can I do to do that? Boy, that’s, that’s going to be a really strong candidate.

Scott DeLuzio: Sounds huge. Yeah. Like it would be a great fit. Um, and very similar to the military, uh, what you were talking about with, um, you know, I’m not going to put you in this position until I. Gotten your, until I trust you to do, uh, certain jobs, uh, in the military, you get new guys all the time, uh, people moving into one unit to another and they, you know, you kind of want to learn to trust that person first.

And until, uh, they, they’ve proven themselves, [00:55:00] you’re a little more hesitant around that person. You don’t,

Steve Wolf: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: mean, they all should be perfectly capable and qualified and everything like that, but There’s still just that little bit of doubt that, that hangs around there and you want to make sure that they’re, uh, they’re up to the task before you go and throw them in the deep end.

Steve Wolf: Right. Would I, would I let this guy run belay when I’m repelling?

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah.

Steve Wolf: Right. Does

Scott DeLuzio: I, do I want to be a, do I want to be a pancake at the bottom of the, uh, the, the

Steve Wolf: right. You know, in the, in the, in the Swiss military during their rifle practice, it’s very interesting. The, the line is always hot. So, uh, so yes, they have to change targets and all that. Well, everyone gets their, their two meter lane, you know, and they’re shooting on a hundred meter range and, and you walk down range and you change your target while other people are shooting next to you.

And you trust them to know the difference between you and the [00:56:00] paper target.

Scott DeLuzio: I,

Steve Wolf: Right. And LA, you know, which, right. So we would think that’s, that’s pretty hairy, but, but like, that’s how it’s going to be in the real world. Right. People are going to be shooting around you, you know, the line never goes cold in an offensive.

Right. And some people are forward position and some people who are back and the people who are forward just have to trust that the people behind them can differentiate between them and who they’re supposed to be shooting,

Scott DeLuzio: you know, I, I, I think that’s

Steve Wolf: that extreme, right? But

Scott DeLuzio: I, I think that’s why the Swiss don’t get into too many, uh, conflicts because they, they’ve already, they already know what it’s like and they’re like, Oh, yeah, we don’t

Steve Wolf: yeah, right, I think, you know, every 18 year old goes in and then you keep your rifle and your handgun at home for the rest of your life. So 100 percent firearms ownership, you know, that’s, that’s another thing that’ll keep you out of conflict. You don’t hear a lot about, about a lot of home invasions going on in Switzerland.

Scott DeLuzio: no, that’s right. Yeah. Cause [00:57:00] you don’t really want to be walking into that room when, you know, there’s a, there’s a rifle behind that door. Yeah.

Steve Wolf: A nice Sig, Sig Sauer.

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Right. Um, So I’m just trying to think, um, you know, is there any other, um, you know, information you want to share with the audience about the technology that you’ve developed or, um, uh, or, or anything along those lines that, um, that might, uh, you know, kind of entice some people to, uh, you know, want to get more involved and know a little bit more about what it is that you guys do and, uh, where can they go to find out more [00:59:00] information?

Steve Wolf: well, if you wanted to keep up with what we’re up to, you could go to our website at teamwildfire. com. And from there you could link to our YouTube page, and we regularly post a video of our latest trials. What are we working on in the lab? How are we testing different mist nozzles? Testing the position of the nozzle relative to the jet engine, the particle size of the retardants that we’re shooting.

There’s a lot of science to be done to make this a really efficient, uh, strategy. Um, so it’s not just that we’re committed to inventing a thing that puts out wildfires. We’re committed to making that thing better all the time. And that’ll be for the life of the company. How can we do this faster, safer, more efficiently, you know, less loss of life.

Uh, more protection of property. So, uh, so like in some objectives, like you won, right? You set a goal, you won here. You’re just trying to [01:00:00] get better and better at winning all the time, uh, because the, the fires are going to get more and more severe. And so the, your skill level and the capabilities of your technology have to continue to increase.

So this is not a situation where, okay, we built the fire truck. We’re good to go. Like, you know, it’s, it’s always got to get better. So what size jet engines, what size platforms we put them on? Uh, are we going to have one that goes on a moped? Are we going to have one that goes on a UTV? Are we going to have one that goes on a giant?

You know, 50, 000 pound logging truck. So based on the, the needs of putting out any given fire, there’ll be different platforms, just like you have different platforms that are appropriate in the military, right? And sometimes you send a rowboat, sometimes you send a cutter, sometimes you send, you know, an aircraft carrier, right?

It’s just, well, what are you fighting?

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. You got to get the right tool for the job, right?

Steve Wolf: yeah. And, uh, you know, personally, I’m driven by curiosity. I just want to [01:01:00] know, like, what would happen if we did this? What would happen if we did that? And then, uh, what’s the outcome? And then that guides, you know, the direction for the next bit of investigation. Um, for me personally, now, you know, a lot of my job is now relegated, uh, to CEO duties, which are things like fundraising.

Uh, how do we, you know, get the next round of investment, uh, to advance our company? How do we continue to de risk the technology so that it becomes a safer and safer investment? Uh, so the same type of strategic thinking, but unfortunately I don’t get to play in the lab as often as I, as I used to, and as much as I like to.

Uh, but because, you know, because of they’re people with good engineering skills, you know, many of them come from the military, I could tell those guys, you know, go in there, uh, test these six jet engines, figure out what the fuel consumption rate is for different amounts of retardant that we [01:02:00] need to spread so that we know how much fuel to send with the truck, you know, per hour of deployment, right?

And these are challenges that are also fun to do. Uh, and I think It’s a nice way to take a skill that you’ve learned, uh, for a military purpose and apply it in a civilian context where you’re also saving lives, where you’re also minimizing property damage and you’re also doing something really positive.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and, and you look at, uh, different military operations that, that take place around the country. And, um, I know we, we joke about the Coast Guard in the military as, you know, not being a real branch of the military, but they still are, you know, part of the military. But they, they go around, they, they help in, uh, you know, rescues of, you know, hurricanes and, uh, you know, floods and other, other things like that.

They, they’re out there on the, the helicopters and the boats and everything, helping people, um, saving [01:03:00] lives. All the time. And, you know, without them, there’d be so many people who would be just absolutely, uh, you know, devastated or, or even

Steve Wolf: It’d be at the bottom of the ocean.

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. You know, and so they, they have that mission, you know, and it’s all around the country.

They’re, they’re up in the great lakes or in the Gulf, they’re on both coasts or they’re all over the place. And, and they, they’re, they’re out there doing this, this job. Um, and there, I think there’s a place for, um, you know, the, the fire protection as well. Um, you know, whether it’s in a military setting or in a civilian firefighting setting, you know, that I don’t know.

Um, but. But there is a place for that because there’s a need. People need to, to have that protection from, from these fires. So, uh, I appreciate everything that you

Steve Wolf: And internationally. And you know, when, when people say, what are you building? I said, well, uh, we’re building the SEAL Team 6 of wildfire suppression. You can send us anywhere in the world to any fire and [01:04:00] we’ll get it done. Uh, because most people, most countries don’t have full, you know, full time wildland firefighters.

When they get 50 fires spring up in Greece on one day, you know, the, they’re not going to say, Oh, send our full time, like what? They’re sending guys who press, uh, olive oil for a living and say, go put on your outfit and hopefully it still fits you and meet me at the trucks and if they’re still running, we’re going to go out and try to put some fire out.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah. Right.

Steve Wolf: You know, those are the guys, unfortunately, who, who leave orphaned little kids at home, uh, because they die. So why would any country send, you know, poorly trained, poorly equipped people to go do a dangerous job when you could call in, you know, an international team that does this for a living? And, and so that’s our goal is, you know, any, any continent, any country, if you’re struggling with a wildfire problem, put your guys back at home where they’re safe and call in team wildfire [01:05:00] and let us come do it for you.

That’s where I see us, you know, 10 years from now that, that, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: That would be great.

Steve Wolf: you know, it’s not the post office, it’s FedEx.

Scott DeLuzio: You can get the overnight delivery and it’ll actually be there.

Steve Wolf: Yeah, right. Well, I just, you know, and, and, and believe me, I, and I have the utmost respect for every firefighter out there, but, you know, you’re working in many cases with, you know, equipment that’s just not up to the task. And an operation that has, that is always mindful of the operation first, you know, and the mission, uh, often secondarily.

We’re all going to go out there. We’re all going to be safe. We all need food. We all need water. We all need a place to sleep and we’re going to put the fire out. And, you know, when you get down to a smaller, more privatized function, uh, then you get very specific action on the mission. So when Team Wildfire would go, we’re going to put the [01:06:00] fire out and then we’re going to also take care of the other things we need to do.

But it becomes very mission centric. And that to me, that’s kind of the way I see the difference between, you know, the post office and FedEx. The post office is an enormous employer. You know, if you can fill out the resume, you got a job, you know, and, uh, and if you can also deliver some mail, that’d be great too, where we’re, uh, when you privatize it and you say, okay, FedEx, you know, here’s the deal.

Hey, if those letters aren’t getting there on time, we’re not getting paid. Our stockholders are pissed, right? And the same for us, right? If we’re not getting there and getting that fire knocked down, you know, we’re not doing our job and we’re not getting paid. So we have a financial incentive that’s aligned with the mission.

Which is not the case, you know, in a lot of that industry. The longer the fire goes, the more money everyone makes right now.

Scott DeLuzio: which should be the opposite. It

Steve Wolf: It, it, right, it should be the opposite. The faster you get that fire out, the more money you make. Not the longer it [01:07:00] burns.

Scott DeLuzio: some of these, some of these departments with these, uh, these, uh, firefighters, if they, they put that incentive in, like you knock down a fire and you know, whatever amount of time you get X amount of bonus or, or whatever you get better believe those fires aren’t going to last too long.

Steve Wolf: right. But as it is right now, the longer the fire goes, you know, the more overtime you make, the more days, you know, deployment you get, the more per diem you get, the more retardant they sell, the more airplane sorties they launch, right? So there’s just a financial incentive to fight the fire for as long as you can, you know, not for as fast as you can.

Uh, and I know. All the guys out there doing that, they’re doing their best, uh, to get those fires knocked down and to save lives and protect property. It would also be good if the financial incentive was lined up with the mission.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I think that’s, that’s one of the problems. I, I, I think with a lot of government agencies, they, uh, you, you, you mentioned budget earlier, and [01:08:00] I forget in what context? You, you said, I think something with regards to the special

Steve Wolf: Moving

Scott DeLuzio: Um,

Steve Wolf: Vandenberg

Scott DeLuzio: yeah. I, and, and I kind of laughed to myself and I wasn’t gonna say anything, but, um, it kind of fits in with what we’re talking about right now.

Um, because I was like. Budgetary constraints, uh, in the military. Um, a lot of times, I mean, there are some budgetary constraints, but a lot of times we’re, we’re blowing ammo, we’re, we’re wasting stuff, you know, left and right and,

Steve Wolf: you’re practicing, developing your skill set.

Scott DeLuzio: exactly, sure. We’ll go with that. You know, but it, it, to me, it was kind of funny because I was like, sometimes we were, we were shooting way more than we needed to, you know, we weren’t, weren’t too, as a infantryman, I wasn’t too concerned with the budget, you know, that that’s somebody else’s job.

Don’t send me the ammo if you don’t want me to shoot it. So,

Steve Wolf: Yeah, there you go.

Scott DeLuzio: um, anyways, so at this point in the show, um, you know, we, we talked about, uh, you know, kind of [01:09:00] everything that you do and I’ll have the link to your website in the show notes as well for the listeners to check out. But at this point in the show, I like to add a little bit of humor.

I know we, we joked about some other things, but, um, you know, for me, it’s just a nice way to end the show with a little bit of jokes or, or whatever. Um. And, uh, since we’re on the topic of fires, I got, got a couple, just kind of one liner kind of jokes that

Steve Wolf: I have a feeling these are going to be dad jokes,

Scott DeLuzio: probably Jet.

Yeah. They’ll

Steve Wolf: we’re both dads, so you know,

Scott DeLuzio: You know, I,

Steve Wolf: an excuse.

Scott DeLuzio: I think, you know, if you don’t like a dad joke, then, you know, you’re not my friend. So that’s fine.

Steve Wolf: I love a dad joke.

Scott DeLuzio: Um, so did you hear about the fire in the shoe factory?

Steve Wolf: No, Scott, that sounds terrible. What happened?

Scott DeLuzio: souls were lost.

Steve Wolf: Ah, bada bing. Okay. I

Scott DeLuzio: And then, but then I got a job at the, at a factory that makes fire hydrants. The problem was I could never find a parking space.[01:10:00]

Steve Wolf: Oh, that’s great. No parking 200 feet around.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Steve Wolf: That’s funny. I like it.

Scott DeLuzio: Anyways, thank you for, uh, uh, the, the feigned laughter there. Um, with

Steve Wolf: Now, those were pretty good. I mean,

Scott DeLuzio: as far as dad jokes go, they were okay. Right.

Steve Wolf: anticipated these jokes, uh, but, uh, they, they were funny when I read them and they’re just as funny when you deliver them.

Scott DeLuzio: So, um, thank you again for taking the time to, uh, to share what you do with with us and I think, uh, for the folks out there listening, um, a couple takeaways that I see, um, you know, there’s, there’s the, uh, potential for a career in the special effects industry, but also, um, you know, in the. Fire fighting, uh, industry as well, right?

Steve Wolf: I mean, Team Wildfire, at one point we’re going to employ, you know, seven to 10, 000 people, you know, the same trust factor is going to go in there. Who can I trust with this multimillion dollar piece of [01:11:00] equipment? Who’s going to maintain it? If you know how to maintain, uh, heavy, heavy vehicles.

And jet engines, like, you got a job.

Scott DeLuzio: And who better to trust with that kind of stuff than people who’ve already been trusted with multimillion dollar, uh, you know, vehicles and, uh, you know, aircraft and other things like that. Right. So

Steve Wolf: that would be, uh, a prime recommendation, uh, you know, on someone’s application would be, you know, the military experience.

Scott DeLuzio: So, so those, those are, are some of the big takeaways. And I think, um, you know, for anyone who has any sort of influence in the military, I think, uh, you know, having this fire suppression technology, uh, in your arsenal. To protect bases and things like that, uh, I think is, is going to be super huge.

So, uh, definitely check out the link in the show notes and, uh, and get in touch with them to find out more. So, uh, thank you again.

Steve Wolf: you know, a lot of bases do prescribed fires, uh, and we’re [01:12:00] looking for places to test this technology. So if you, you know, have access to, or know somebody who’s doing prescribed burns, uh, please do get in touch with me. Um, my cell phone number’s on the website. Uh, and we could use your base as a location for perfecting the technology.

Scott DeLuzio: Wonderful. And thank you again, Steve, for, for

Steve Wolf: Hey, Scott, thanks so much for a great hour.

Scott DeLuzio: You bet.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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