Third Reserve C-130 joins California wildfire fight
by Senior Airman Stephen Collier
302nd Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
6/30/2008 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AFPN) -- A third Air Force Reserve Command C-130H Hercules was dispatched June 27 to help fight raging wild fires in California.
Officials from the 302nd Airlift Wing from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., sent the additional airplane and crews to join the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group at McClellan Airfield in Sacramento to help battle the northern California Corral and Piute fires.
As of June 29, Airmen at McClellan Airfield launched their fourth day of missions in support of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's war against California wildfires. The fires are the result of lightning strikes that blanketed most of the state June 21.
The Corral fire, located about 200 miles north of Sacramento, is more than 10,000 acres wide and is 5 percent contained with some structures are threatened. The Piute fire, which started June 28, is more than 260 miles south of Sacramento. That fire is uncontrolled, raging throughout the Sequoia National Forest near Lake Isabella. Fire officials are reporting that structures are being threatened by this fire.
More than 5,400 lives are being threatened by both fires. Fire information is current as of 2 p.m. June 29.
The C-130s carry the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, known as MAFFS, and are capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant per mission. The 302nd AEG has eight C-130s under its command and will launch as many missions as California officials require to contain the wildfires.
Aircrews have dropped approximately 117,000 gallons of fire retardant since airborne missions began June 26. Members and aircraft of the 302nd AEG are based at the Sacramento-area airfield, which allows these military transport aircraft to fly with maximum fuel loads and MAFFS to operate with full fire retardant capability. Aircrews and C-130 support members come from Charlotte, N.C., Cheyenne, Wyo., Colorado Springs, Colo.
Airmen are deployed here in support of California firefighters and the National Interagency Fire Center to battle wildfires in the state. For more information on fires throughout California, visit www.nifc.gov or www.fire.ca.gov.
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