Douse Practice

About 200 airmen from California, Colorado, North Carolina, and Wyoming who operate the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command C-130s that carry aerial firefighting equipment are being recertified for the firefighting mission prior to the start of the nation’s potentially ominous wildfire season on June 1. Air Forces Northern said in a release May 8 that these airmen are enrolled for 10 days in an annual certification program at Tucson, Ariz., that is sponsored by the National Interagency Fire Center and Departments of Agriculture and Interior. The course gives these airmen, along with US Forest Service flight crews, the opportunity to practice and upgrade their skills in using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System and the newer improved MAFFS II version, both of which C-130 variants carry. MAFFS is a self-contained unit that fits inside the C-130 and discharges water or a flame retardant to douse fires from the air. MAFFS II was first fielded earlier this year by the California ANG’s 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands ANG Station.