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Reserve C-130s called in to fight California wildfires

6/25/2008 - PETERSON AFB, Colo. (AFPN) -- The Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd Airlift Wing here is scheduled to deploy two firefighting C-130 Hercules aircraft June 25 to battle raging wildfires in California.

The Modular Airborne Firefighting System, or MAFFS, configured C-130s will be in place and fully-operational at Chico Municipal Airport in Chico, Calif.

The National Interagency Fire Center requested Department of Defense assistance in fighting the fires which put the wheels in motion for mobilization of the reserve aircraft, aircrews and maintenance personnel from Peterson Air Force Base.

The 302nd AW will furnish enough crews to sustain its two firefighting aircraft throughout each daylight hour to help battle the over 668 wildland fires currently ravaging northern California.

Last year, the 302nd AW's MAFFS mission at Peterson AFB was activated by the USDA Forest Service to fight wildfires in Southern California. During those aerial firefighting missions, the 302nd AW flew 76 sorties against fires in California discharging over 200,000 gallons of retardant protecting over 2,000 homes, saving thousands of lives and preventing an estimated $1.1 billion in property loss.

In addition to supplying C-130s and aircrews, leadership from the 302nd AW will serve as the overall military firefighting component's command structure, leading the military's support to the USDA Forest Service for all fire events that require military assets during the 2008 aerial firefighting season.

As Air Force reservists, many of the aircrew members and aircraft maintainers will be taking time away from their civilian jobs and commitments in the Front Range area to volunteer for this mission.

The 302nd AW also recently deployed two C-130s and 60 reserve aircrew and aircraft maintainers to support contingency operations throughout Southwest Asia.

(Air Force Reserve Command News Service)

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