Additional DoD, U.S. Northern Command air assets, personnel join forces to help contain California fires

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | July 06, 2008

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo – U.S. Northern Command, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Navy Reserve, provides additional capabilities to the National Interagency Firefighting Center (NIFC) in support of California wildland firefighting efforts:

New support:

  • Four additional Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS)-capable aircraft, C-130 H3s have joined the fight for a total of eight.  Three are from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command out of Colorado, three from the 145th Air Wing, North Carolina National Guard, two from the 153rd Air Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, are currently deployed to McClellan Air Park, Calif.  These eight MAFFS-capable aircraft fly about 20 sorties per day.
  • Two CH-46Es assigned to the "Knightriders" of Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and two CH-46Es assigned to the "Red Dragons" of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron based out of Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Calif., deployed to Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
  • The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, deployed three CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, equipped with 2,000-gallon specialized fire fighting buckets, to join the CH-46Es at NAS Lemoore, Calif.
  • In addition, two Navy Reserve MH-60S helicopters with 420- and 360-gallon specialized fire fighting buckets from the Helicopter Sea Combat Support Squadron 85 based out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., recently joined forces at the NAS Lemoore, Calif.   

Ongoing support:

  • U.S. Army North's Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) for Region IX deployed to FEMA Region IX's Regional Response Coordination Center.
  • U.S. Army North's DCO and DCE for FEMA Region X deployed to the NIFC in Boise, Idaho.

The MAFFS-capable aircraft, C-130 Hercules aircraft, that are part of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command out of Colorado, fall under the control of USNORTHCOM when supporting the National Interagency Firefighting Center (NIFC).  Additionally, USNORTHCOM coordinates the efforts of MAFFS-capable National Guard aircraft, including those from the North Carolina and Wyoming Air National Guards.

The DCO acts as liaison between the NIFC and USNORTHCOM, advising NIFC on military capabilities and coordinating active-duty joint service support (personnel and equipment) when requested.  The federal and state agencies of NIFC are mobilizing personnel and equipment at a high rate to support the wildfire response in California to fires on public and federal lands.

U.S. Northern Command, established in the wake of the terrorist at established in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, is responsible for Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities.  For more information about U.S. Northern Command please visit www.northcom.mil