Two military C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) were mobilized earlier this week to join the other two activated July 22. Until last month it had been two years since C-130s from the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve had been mobilized.
This year MAFFS have delivered 123 loads of retardant, including several on the Lake Fire north of Los Angeles and the LNU Lightning Complex in Northern California.
A C-130 equipped with a MAFFS can deliver up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. The system slides into the back of the military aircraft and retardant is sprayed under pressure through a nozzle in the troop door on the left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to supplement the civilian airtanker program to slow the spread of wildland fires.
“We’re at our highest level of wildfire preparedness with multiple regions of the country experiencing a significant level of fire activity,” said Kim Christensen, deputy assistant director for operations for the USDA Forest Service. “These aircraft are instrumental in providing increased aerial firefighting capacity on fires across the West.”
Two of the aircraft are from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing, Port Hueneme and two are from the ANG’s 153rd Airlift Wing, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The crews rotate out with other Air National Guard or Reserve Wings every week to 10 days. Eighty-seven Department of Defense personnel are mobilized as part of the deployment.
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Author: Bill Gabbert
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