August 3, 2016 (by 302 AW) - An Air Force Reserve C-130 equipped with a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System departed here today to support ongoing aerial fire fighting efforts in the Western U.S.
USAF C-130H #94-7315 from 731st AS MAFFs equipped aircraft taxis on the runway at Peterson AFB early on August 3, 2016. MAFFS was activated to assist with fire fighting efforts in the Western states. This is the first MAFFS activation of the season. [USAF photo by Daniel Butterfield]
The Reserve wing received the request for assistance for one MAFFS-equipped C-130 and crew from the National Interagency Fire Center earlier this week.
“We are mobilizing MAFFS to ensure that we continue to have adequate airtanker capability as we experience elevated wildfire activity in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Washington, California and elsewhere in the West,” said Aitor Bidaburu, Chair of NMAC in NIFC’s Aug. 2 news release that announced the activation of MAFFS.
The Peterson-based 302nd Airlift Wing C-130 and aircrew will be joined by a second MAFFS-equipped C-130 from the 153rd AW, Wyoming Air National Guard as they operate and support U.S. Forest Service aerial fire fighting efforts from the Boise Tanker Base, Boise, Idaho in this first MAFFS activation of 2016.
“MAFFS will provide a needed surge air tanker capability to the U.S. Forest Service with the increased fire activity in the West,” said Col. James DeVere, commander of the 302nd AW.
“Our aircrews completed annual MAFFS training in May and are ready to support,” added DeVere.
The MAFFS certified Reservists are expected to fly fire containment missions based from Boise, Idaho and other Western U.S. locations as needed.
Eight MAFFS-equipped DOD C-130s are operated by four military airlift wings: The 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.
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.