Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reserve C-130s helping fight California fires

Two Air Force Reserve Command C-130 Hercules aircraft, equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems like this C-130 dropping water during annual MAFFS training in New Mexico, have been dispatched to help battle wildfires in California. The aircraft are from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza)

Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd Airlift Wing here has launched two firefighting C-130 Hercules aircraft to battle the raging wildfires in southern California.

Two additional C-130s also are going to support the operation.

National Interagency Fire Center officials in Boise, Idaho, requested Department of Defense assistance in fighting the fires which put the wheels in motion for mobilization of the reservists from Peterson.

Crews from the 302nd AW loaded the Modular Airborne Firefighting System equipment onto two of their C-130 cargo aircraft. The unit will furnish enough crews to sustain its two firefighting aircraft throughout each daylight hour to help battle wildland fires currently ravaging national forest and private properties in California.

Last year, the 302nd's MAFFS mission at Peterson was activated by the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The 302nd flew 18 sorties against fires in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon, dropping 48,600 gallons of retardant.