July 1, 2012 —
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - At the request of the U.S. Forest Service, four of the eight military C-130 aircraft, each equipped with that agency’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) will begin operating out of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s base, in Cheyenne, Monday.
Since June 25, MAFFS-equipped aircraft have been operating from Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs, Colo., assisting with fire fighting efforts in the Rocky Mountain region.
The C-130s from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing and the North Carolina National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing are moving to Cheyenne to minimize retardant reloading time, said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153rd Air Expeditionary Group commander.
“Moving four of our aircraft further north will allow the Forest Service tremendous flexibility to assist with several regional fires at once,” he said. “Reducing the reaction time to get to fires in Wyoming and South Dakota, for example, will be a huge force multiplier.”
The four aircraft from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing, stationed at Channel Islands, and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs, will continue to operate from Peterson Air Force Base.
The C-130s have dropped more than 170,000 gallons of fire retardant on the Waldo Canyon and Flagstaff fires in Colorado, the Arapaho fire in Wyoming, and the White Draw fire in South Dakota.
“They are assigned to fires on a priority basis for each day,” said Scott Fisher, with the U.S. Forest Service. “Airtankers may also be re-assigned during the day, based on a shift in priority for the Rocky Mountain coordination center.”
MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program.
MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. 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.
For more information, contact 153 AEG public affairs: Deidre Forster, email@example.com; 307-631-4153.