PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., August 4, 2014 —
Two Defense Department C-130 aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems and under the command and control of U.S. Northern Command are assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in the Northwest, the Great Basin, and elsewhere in the West at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
Since July 20, 2014, DoD aircraft have conducted 65 airdrops and have discharged more than 114,300 gallons of fire retardant.
In the last 24 hours, crews have conducted two airdrops and discharged about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Hard Creek fire in Idaho, four airdrops discharging about 9,000 gallons of retardant at the Thompson River fire in Montana, and four airdrops discharging about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Warland fire in Montana, officials said.
The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne.
Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 aircraft assigned to units in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Wyoming are capable of dropping fire retardant using U.S. Forest Service MAFFS units, officials said. Aircrews, maintenance crews and support personnel undergo special National Interagency Fire Center training and certification to perform these missions each year, they added.
U.S. Northern Command, established in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, is responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.