July 20, 2005 —
PETERSON AFB, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command officials have authorized the deployment of four C-130 aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) in support of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
NIFC has increased the National Preparedness Level for firefighting to Level 3. Due to this change, combined with the ignition of 25 new large fires throughout the U.S. over the weekend of July 16-17, NIFC has requested assistance from the Department of Defense. Currently there are a total of 185 reported very high to extreme fires in the Midwest, Southwest and Alaska.
A Defense Coordinating Officer, the liaison between the primary federal agency (NIFC) and DoD, is already on location and the four C-130s aircraft from Wyoming and North Carolina Air National Guard units will be in place at the Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho today.
While homeland defense is the primary mission of the command established as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. Northern Command also provides “one-stop shopping” for defense support to civil authorities in the event of disaster relief operations to include wildland fires.
For more information on the web: www.nifc.gov