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Reserve wing continues fire fighting efforts

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd Airlift Wing sent a second Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 to Fresno Air Tanker Base, California Sept. 6, 2017, to support ongoing aerial fire fighting efforts in the Western U.S.

The Reserve wing, Stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, has been supporting the U.S. Forest Service request for assistance with one MAFFS C-130 since July 30, in response to the U.S. Forest Service request for assistance, which began the federal activation of three MAFFS-equipped C-130s.

“It’s been an active six weeks for our MAFFS crews and support personnel – our Air Force reservists are trained and ready to provide additional support,” said Col. James DeVere, the 302nd Airlift Wing commander. “MAFFS 2 and its crew will contribute to the overall team efforts and work in support of fire suppression in the Western U.S.”

The U.S. Forest Service original request for assistance, which was made July 27, for three MAFFS-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft remains unchanged. When the U.S. Forest Service requires surge aerial fire fighting support, and MAFFS is activated, the MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group command rotates support amongst the four participating Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard MAFFS airlift wings.

The MAFFS-equipped C-130s are operated by four military airlift wings: the 146th AW, California ANG; 152nd AW, Nevada ANG, 153rd AW, Wyoming ANG; and the 302nd AW. All four wings have supported operations at Fresno Air Tanker Base since the July activation of MAFFS. MAFFS 2 will join the 302nd AW's MAFFS 5 and the 146th AW's MAFFS 6 to continue aerial fire fighting efforts.

As of Sept. 5, MAFFS-equipped C-130s have made 266 drops disbursing 713,625 gallons of retardant to aid in the suppression of more than a dozen fires.

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 five seconds, covering an area of one-quarter mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, MAFFS tanks can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

The Defense Department, through U.S. Northern Command at Peterson AFB, provides unique military support to firefighting efforts when requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and approved by the Defense Secretary. These diverse mission assets are prepared to respond quickly and effectively to protect lives, property, critical infrastructure and natural resources, and can include, but are not limited to, MAFFS, military helicopters and ground forces capable of supporting the firefighting efforts.