Yes, that is a large bolt of electricity. The folks at Harvard have re-discovered an apparently 200 year old technology that allows controlled bolts of electricity to snuff out fires. Researcher Dr Cademartiri has stated that the wand in use at the demonstration – held at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society- uses as much power as a high end car stereo, and that that is about ten times more power than is necessary for snuffing out the 30cm tall flame.
The research into putting out fires with large electric fields has even gotten attention from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who funded the research. The current technology can be packed into a man-portable backpack. Who wants to carry a large electrically charged backpack into an inferno is beyond me.
The electricity interacts with carbon soot, and can be used to change the way a flame burns, as well as douse the flame. While the source article talks about it being used in submarines and airplanes, I have my concerns. Who wants to send a bolt of electricity into a flight computer at 30,000 feet? Not me, thanks.