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California Air National Guard Aircraft Join Firefighting Effort in Colorado

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ashley Moore
  • 146th Airlift Wing
The California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing deployed two C-130J aircraft Sunday to assist with the firefighting efforts in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado. The aircraft are equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems II (MAFFS) and are capable of discharging 3,000 gallons of water or retardant along the leading edge of a fire in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) issued a request for help over the weekend through the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The 146th Airlift Wing joined two MAFFS-equipped C130-Js from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, based out of Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Personnel from the 302nd Airlift Wing had been battling several fires across Colorado for more than a week. The request for additional MAFFS units came after an increase of fire activity in Southern Colorado and a forecast for additional significant fires over the next several days. Since the initial MAFFS activation on June 11, the 302nd Airlift Wing has released more than 100,000 gallons of retardant during 41 drops.

A joint program between the Department of Defense and USFS, MAFFS provides aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet demands on the USFS. Four C-130 military units perform the MAFFS mission, each providing two MAFFS-capable aircraft and the air and ground crews needed to operate them.

For more information on the California Air National Guard's participation in the Colorado firefighting efforts or the MAFFS firefighting system, please contact Maj. Kimberly Holman at (805) 340-7301.