U.S Northern Command anticipates firefighting support to California as Santa Ana winds pick up

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs


PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command is actively engaged in the deployment of four C-130 aircraft with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) to Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Calif., in anticipation of the need for support in initial attack firefighting activity across Southern California.

Wind predictions related to expected Santa Ana winds will ultimately determine the departure time of the units from home station and the arrival date of the MAFFS-equipped aircraft in SoCal.

Two aircraft from the 153rd Airlift Wing from the Cheyenne, Wyoming Air National Guard and two Air Force Reserves aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., will begin flying missions out of the Channel Islands facility as needed beginning as early as Thursday (Nov. 22).

In addition, a Defense Coordinating Officer from U.S. Army North, is deploying to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) at the request of NIFC to assist in coordinating military assets to support first-responders in southern California should their capabilities be requested. ARNORTH provides Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the Army component of NORTHCOM.

An Air Component Coordination Element (ACCE) will deploy from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The air component plans air support and liaises with ground commanders to ensure air support efforts are used to the most efficient and effective extent.

“The Defense Support of Civil Authorities portion of our mission requires that we anticipate needed support in case of a disaster,” said USNORTHCOM Commanding Officer, General Gene Renuart. “We would rather put assets in place in case we are requested to support firefighting efforts than scramble to get there when it could be too late.”

USNORTHCOM is the unified combatant command responsible for defending the homeland and providing defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM anticipates requests, actions and requirements to support developing situations. Its subordinate commands are Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region, Joint Task Force Alaska, Joint Task Force Civil Support, Joint Task Force North and Standing Joint Force Headquarters North.