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An Airman assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing marshals a MAFFS-equipped C-130 on the flightline at the Wyoming Air National Guard base in Cheyenne, Wyo., July 3, 2012. MAFFS aircraft continue to operate in the Rocky Mountain region to assist with firefighting efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nichole Grady)
Colorado Reserve C-130s, crews continue aerial fire fighting
Posted 7/26/2012 Updated 7/26/2012
by Ann Skarban
302nd Airlift Wing
7/26/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing here, moved operations to Boise, Idaho, to continue to provide aerial fire fighting support to the U.S. Forest Service as fires continue to rage in the Rocky Mountain area.
Aircraft have been operating out of Boise Air Terminal, Idaho, since July 11.
“Our aircrews have been flying on a number of fires from Colorado to Wyoming, in South Dakota and now in Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada accomplishing primarily initial attack operations on new starts,” said Lt. Col. Luke Thompson, the chief of aerial fire fighting for the 302nd AW. “It’s been a busy start to this year’s MAFFS season. We’ve been successful in swapping out crews and will continue to provide support as needed by the U.S. Forest Service.”
On July 17, the U.S. Forest Service reduced its MAFFS request for assistance from six aircraft and crews to four. Two C-130s from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing, moved operations from Utah to join the 302nd AW in Idaho. MAFFS C-130s and aircrews from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing returned to their home station at Cheyenne, Wyo.
The MAFFS-equipped C-130s and aircrews have supported the Rattlesnake, Lucky and Owinza fires in Idaho, and Chimney fire in Nevada. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise reports moderate fire activity with 218 new fires nationwide and 29 uncontained large fires as of July 24.
Prior to the July 24 request, Air Force aerial firefighting units flew 315 drops, discharging 769,952 gallons of retardant since the first U.S. Forest Service request for assistance on June 24.
MAFFS are operated by four C-130 wings: The 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.
Four Airmen assigned to the 145th AW died during a MAFFS mission on the White Draw fire in South Dakota on July 1. The accident currently is under investigation.
The MAFFS program is a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Defense. The forest service owns the MAFFS equipment and supplies the retardant. DOD provides the C-130 aircraft, aircrews, maintenance and support personnel to perform the mission.
MAFFS provides a surge capability that can be used to boost wildfire suppression efforts when commercial air tankers are fully committed or not readily available.
Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123311506