Guard, Reserve Fight California Fires

Hundreds of members of the California Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve have joined the fight against the wildfires scorching northern California. The fast-moving Rocky fire, north of San Francisco, has already burned 65,000 acres, and on Monday it burned through a containment line and jumped a highway, reported the Los Angeles Times. About “1,100 California Guard soldiers and airmen on state Active Duty status and 11 Guard helicopters” are helping battle the blaze, and the California Air National Guard has deployed two C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems, according to the Pentagon. Those planes were joined early this week by two more Air Force Reserve MAFFS-equipped C-130s from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., according to an AFRC release. The self-contained firefighting systems allow aircraft to pour 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, and they can be refilled in less than 12 minutes. As of Monday night, 21 active fires were burning across California, and California Department of Forestry and Fire officials warned lightning in Northern California could spark even more wildfires.