C-130s Resume Firefighting Operations

The Air Force’s small fleet of Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s is resuming flight operations on July 3 to help battle wildfires in Colorado and several northwestern states, announced US Northern Command officials. The resumption of flight activities comes one day after NORTHCOM temporarily suspended them following the crash of one of these C-130s on July 1 while fighting South Dakota’s White Draw fire. That crash claimed the lives of several members of the aircrew; the Air Force has yet to publicly announce their names, but has notified next of kin. Local newspapers are starting to identify the deceased airmen, citing their family members (see, for example, this Rapid City Journal report). The MAFFS C-130s are assigned to Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command units. They are operating out of Peterson AFB, Colo., and Cheyenne, Wyo., in support of the firefighting efforts.