DOD continues aid to combat western wildfires

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Two Department of Defense C-130 Hercules equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems 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 in Boise, Idaho.

Since July 20, DOD aircraft have conducted 132 air drops and discharged more than 246,800 gallons of fire retardant.

Over the last 24 hours, officials said, DOD aircraft conducted one airdrop and discharged about 2,750 gallons of retardant on the Bald Ridge fire in Utah.

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

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130s 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 National Interagency Fire Center training and certification to perform these missions each year.

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.

(Information courtesy of a U.S. Northern Command news release)