In the best of worlds, we are spared from fires. Still, they do occur and when they do, we want to suffocate them as soon as they ignite. If we succeed, we do not have to face the consequences of a full-scale fire, such as the destruction of technology, cargo, or in worst case injured people. 15 minutes after ignition is considered as a “magical number” as the negative outcome tends to increase after this time limit. If we manage to detect and localize the fire just as it starts, it can many times be handled with easy-to-use tools and equipment. On the other hand, if the fire is allowed to grow and spread, it may become very difficult to extinguish. Time is key!
Read about the progress in WP09 here.