Two C-130 aircraft equipped with MAFFS mobilized to fight forest fires – YubaNet


McClellan, California – The USDA Forest Service activated two C-130 military aircraft equipped with MAFFS to help escalate fires in several western states. The aircraft, from the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard and the 152nd Airlift Wing of the Nevada Air National Guard, will join the USDA Forest Service and other response agencies. forest fires in the West. The aircraft will be operational from June 26 from McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento.

MAFFS landing. Photo by Michael Dougherty, Air Force North

“These planes will help increase our aerial firefighting capabilities,” said Kim Christensen, deputy deputy director of operations for the USDA Forest Service. “We have already reached National Readiness Level 4 with a high potential for significant wildfire activity in the western United States to increase further.”
Having military C-130s that can be converted into tankers provides critical ‘surge’ capability that can be used to bolster forest fire suppression efforts when commercial tankers are fully engaged or not readily available. . The activation of military aircraft equipped with MAFFS is one month earlier than in 2020 and the first activation in June since 2012.

“Our aircraft and crew are ready to respond to requests for assistance,” said Lieutenant-General Kirk Pierce, Commander of the First Air Force (Air Forces Northern). “Our team of MAFFS-trained professionals recently completed annual aerial forest firefighting training with the USDA Forest Service to ensure they are fully prepared for the wildfire season. We take to heart our team’s efforts to help protect critical assets and infrastructure, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

C-130 aircraft are equipped with the US Forest Service’s MAFFS, which can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in less than 10 seconds on a quarter-mile line. The system slides to the rear of the military aircraft and the retarder is released through a nozzle located at the rear left. In addition to the 146th and 152nd Airlift Wings, MAFFS program planes come from the 302nd Airlift Wing of Air Force Reserve Command, Peterson AFB, Colo., And the 153rd Airlift Wing, Air National Guard, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Airmen from the 302nd Airlift Wing conduct water-based fire testing of the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System Unit May 10, 2021 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. preparation for annual aerial firefighting training.

On June 22, the national wildfire preparedness level was raised to 4 (out of 5), indicating an increase in wildfire activity in the western United States. The level was raised by the Multi-Agency Coordination Group (NMAC), made up of wildfire representatives from each forest firefighting agency based at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.

NIFC is the country’s support center for fighting forest fires. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of the NIFC, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the National Weather Service, the US Fire Administration and the National Association of State. Foresters.

For more information on Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, visit:


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