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Reservists assist aerial firefighting efforts

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- An Air Force Reserve C-130 Hercules equipped with a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System departed here Aug. 3 to support ongoing aerial firefighting efforts in the West.

The 302nd Airlift Wing received the request for assistance for one MAFFS-equipped C-130 and crew from the National Interagency Fire Center earlier this week.

“We are mobilizing MAFFS to ensure that we continue to have adequate airtanker capability as we experience elevated wildfire activity in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Washington, California and elsewhere in the West,” said Aitor Bidaburu, the chairman of the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group in NIFC’s Aug. 2 news release that announced the activation of MAFFS.

The Peterson AFB-based 302nd AW C-130 and aircrew will be joined by a second MAFFS-equipped C-130 from the 153rd AW from the Wyoming Air National Guard as they operate and support the Forest Service aerial firefighting efforts from the Boise Tanker Base in Boise, Idaho, in what is the first MAFFS activation of 2016.

“MAFFS will provide a needed surge airtanker capability to the U.S. Forest Service with the increased fire activity in the West,” said Col. James DeVere, the 302nd AW commander.

“Our aircrews completed annual MAFFS training in May and are ready to support,” DeVere added.

The MAFFS certified reservists are expected to fly fire containment missions based from Boise and other locations in the West as needed.

The MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system, owned by the Forest Service, that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area a quarter-mile long and 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

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