NIFC sends two MAFFS home

By 153rd AEG Public Affairs | September 04, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The National Interagency Fire Center sent two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems-equipped C-130s home over the Labor Day weekend, due to a decrease in fire activity.

Two C-130s from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing were deactivated Sept. 2, and returned to Cheyenne from Boise, Idaho. Four other MAFFS units remain activated. The Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing, out of Colorado Springs, Colo., has two C-130s operating out of Boise.

The North Carolina and California Air National Guard each have one C-130 operating out of McClellan Air Tanker Base, in Sacramento, Calif.

According to MAFFS’ 153rd Air Expeditionary Group leadership based in Boise, Idaho, this season has become the second highest in MAFFS history for gallons dropped surpassed only by the MAFFS season of 1994 when approximately 5 million gallons were dropped. So far this season, through Aug. 27, the MAFFS fleet has released more than 2,277,971 gallons of fire retardant during 950 drops on fires in 10 states.

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

The U.S. Forest 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.

This is the first year since 2008 that all four MAFFS wings have been activated simultaneously.

As a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service, MAFFS 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.