Firefighting Missions Keep Guard, Reserve Units Busy
American Forces Press Service
BOISE, Idaho, Jul. 19, 2004 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units are staying busy with firefighting missions in the West.
C-130 Hercules aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, or MAFFS, are assisting with initial and extended attack to support firefighters on the ground. Two units of the Air Force Reserve's 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado, currently deployed to Williams Gateway Airport outside Phoenix, are moving their operations today to the Hill tanker base in central Utah.
One unit each from the 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming Air National Guard based in Cheyenne, and the 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard based in Charlotte, flew firefighting missions from Williams Gateway from July 6 through 14.
The military aircraft flew 252 firefighting missions in Arizona and New Mexico since May 28, with nearly all flown by the Colorado unit that is now moving to Utah.
Weather predictions indicate a warming and drying trend over the West during the next 10 days. Conditions have moderated in the Southwest with the arrival of their seasonal rainfall. The MAFFS units will respond to initial attack support requests as ordered from Hill tanker base, with a tanker base in Boise used as a reload center as appropriate. Should the initial attack activity increase farther north, the MAFFS units will move their base from Utah to Boise to be more centrally located, officials said.
(Courtesy of the National Interagency Fire Center.)