C-130s Battle Arizona Wildfires

Specially configured C-130s and aircrews from the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air Guard’s 153rd AW are replacing their counterparts from the California Air Guard’s 146th AW and Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd AW in Colorado in combating wildfires in Arizona. Phoenix Interagency Dispatch Center spokesperson Emily Garber told the Daily Report that the Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s began making the switch on July 7. The C-130 MAFFS airplanes had been fighting wildfires in Colorado since mid-June out of Colorado Springs, but last week began relocating at the request of the US Forest Service to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., to battle the Arizona blazes. Garber said on July 8 the MAFFS aircraft had already dropped some 21,000 gallons of fire retardant on fires in Arizona and southern Nevada. The MAFFS-fitted C-130s can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds over an area one-quarter-mile long and 100-feet wide.