Update: DOD Support to Wildfires in Northwest Great Basin

UNRELEASED | July 25, 2014

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command is mobilizing a Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to the RRCC Region X, in response to a request for assistance for wildland firefighting support.

Additionally, two Department of Defense C-130 aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) and under the command and control of U.S. Northern Command are assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in the Northwest, Great Basin, and elsewhere in the West at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.

Since July 20, 2014, DoD aircraft have conducted 41 air drops and discharged more than 78,900 gallons of retardant.

Specific information by fire within the last 24 hours is below:

Mack, ID-- Eight (8) air drops – App. 20,300 gallons of retardant

Kitten, OR-- Eight (8) air drops -- App. 17,300 gallons of retardant

The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard located in Cheyenne, WY.

USNORTHCOM provides DOD capabilities for disaster response operations in support of the Department of Homeland Security / Federal Emergency Management Agency / National Interagency Fire Center, state and local officials and continues to closely monitor wildfires to anticipate requests for DOD assistance.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 aircraft assigned to units in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Wyoming are capable of dropping fire retardant using U.S. Forest Service MAFFS units.  Aircrews, maintenance crews and support personnel undergo special NIFC training and certification to perform these missions each year. 

The DCO acts as liaison between the NIFC and USNORTHCOM, relaying capabilities available to NIFC and coordinating movement of active-duty personnel and equipment to assist should the need arise.  The DCE acts as administrative support to the DCO.

U.S. Northern Command, 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.