Air Force Reserve C-130s Support Colorado Firefighting Effort
From a U.S. Northern Command News Release
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Jun. 12, 2013 Two Air Force Reserve Command Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130s and aircrews from the 302nd Airlift Wing have been requested to support firefighting efforts for southern Colorado fires.
Air Force Reserve officials here received official word from the U.S. Forest Service late last night and will be ready to begin flying missions this afternoon.
The Defense Department, through U.S. Northern Command here, provides unique military support to firefighting efforts when requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and approved by the secretary of defense. These assets are prepared to respond quickly and effectively to protect lives, property, critical infrastructure and natural resources, Northcom officials said, and can include MAFFS, military helicopters and ground forces capable of supporting the firefighting efforts, among other capabilities.
"We are ready to support containment efforts today if called upon," said Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Thompson, the 302nd Airlift Wing’s chief of aerial firefighting.
Once the launch order is received, the MAFFS-equipped aircraft are expected to fly missions out of Peterson Air Force Base and provide aerial firefighting support to the U.S. Forest Service, as directed by the incident commanders.
The MAFFS units are owned by the U.S. Forest Service, one of several federal and state government agencies and organizations with roles and responsibilities in wildland fire suppression that make up the National Interagency Fire Center based in Boise, Idaho.
MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area a quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.