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American Forces Press Service

Additional Firefighting Aircraft Head to Rocky Mountain Region

From a 153rd Air Expeditionary Group News Release

CHEYENNE, Wyo., Aug. 3, 2012 – The U.S. Forest Service has requested two more Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 aircraft to help with combating wildfires in the Rocky Mountain area.

The two aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will supplement the two C-130s from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, currently operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho.

"There is a high potential for lightning forecasted as a low-pressure system begins moving through the area later this weekend," said Air Force Col. Jerry Champlin, commander of the 153rd Air Expeditionary Group. "We relieved the 302nd from MAFFS last week because of the favorable fire outlook. However, all the wings know not to get too comfortable at home during fire season."

Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has released more than 888,981 gallons of fire retardant in more than 368 drops on fires in eight states in the Rocky Mountain area.

The MAFFS-equipped C-130s are operated by four military units: the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide.

Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

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