Eric Clancy, an operations manager at Perimeter Solutions, sprays the company’s Fortify fire retardant along the roadside in Paso Robles, Calif. Perimeter Solutions has rolled up all the meaningful competition for its fire suppressants and is now rolling out a preventive gel. Along Via Volcano, a prairie road in Murrieta, Calif., acres of brush and grass have been sunbaked a dirty blond. Residents of the surrounding ranch homes call this dry vegetation “flashy fuel” because it burns fast. Here, 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the humidity is low and temperatures are often scorching. Even the tiniest spark, from the power lines overhead or a backfiring lawnmower, risks setting off an inferno. After a 2019 outbreak charred almost 2,000 acres and forced the evacuation of hundreds of nearby households, locals considered brush-clearing countermeasures, but mostly had to settle for staying alert all the time. “When you’re mowing weeds in […]