MAFFS units to support southwestern U.S. firefighting efforts

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | June 15, 2011

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Two Modular Airborne Firefighting System - equipped C-130 aircraft from the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard deployed to Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., today to conduct fire containment missions in support of wildfire suppression efforts in the southwestern U.S.

The aircraft are being deployed at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The 302nd Air Expeditionary Group will provide command and control of the aircraft from Boise. This year, the 302nd AEG, which is comprised largely of personnel from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., has supported firefighting efforts in Texas and Mexico.

The Department of Defense, through the Commander, U.S. Northern Command provides support to the NIFC in conducting wildland firefighting operations within the continental United States, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as approved by the Secretary of Defense.

MAFFS-equipped C-130s are capable of discharging 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in less than five seconds. The U.S. Forest Service owns the MAFFS units.

Fire containment missions, which are assigned by NIFC or the respective Wildland Fire Manager, are scheduled to begin tomorrow.