August 3, 2015 (by 302 AW) - The Air Force Reserve’s aerial fire-fighting unit was called up to join other Department of Defense assets to battle wildland fires in California and the Northwestern U.S. on August 1st.
Members of the 39th Aerial Port Squadron along with C-130 loadmasters assigned to the 731st AS push a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System unit on to C-130H #94-7318 on August 2, 2015. It takes about three hours to load and configure the MAFFS unit in a C-130 aircraft. Two Air Force Reserve C-130s were called up to support the U.S. Forest Service wildland fire fighting efforts in California and the Northwestern U.S. [USAF photo SSgt. Nathan Federico]
Two Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules, aircrews and support personnel from the 302nd Airlift Wing here were activated to support aerial firefighting efforts in the Western U.S. The MAFFS aircraft are expected to fly fire containment missions from McClellan Airtanker Base, California, and other locations as needed. The C-130s aircrews and support personnel are expected to depart Peterson AFB Aug. 3.
The U.S. Forest Service sent a request for Department of Defense MAFFS C-130s and crews through U.S. Northern Command.
"Our MAFFS personnel will provide additional and much needed fire suppression efforts in California. We are looking forward to adding our surge capabilities to the mix," said Col. Scott Sanders, MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group commander. "The MAFFS program is part of an important partnership among DOD, NIFC, CalFire and other contract and military responders."
This is the first MAFFS activation for the 302nd AW in 2015. The August activation is part of the normal duty rotation shared by the 302nd AW and the 153rd AW, Wyoming Air National Guard; 146th AW, California ANG; and 145th AW, North Carolina ANG.
MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system, owned by the U.S. Forest Service, that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.
The DOD, through U.S. Northern Command at Peterson AFB, provides unique military support to firefighting efforts when requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and approved by the Secretary of Defense. These diverse mission assets are prepared to respond quickly and effectively to protect lives, property, critical infrastructure and natural resources, and can include, but are not limited to, MAFFS, military helicopters and ground forces capable of supporting the firefighting efforts.