MAFFS in Force

For the first time since 2008, a total of eight specially modified C-130s from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are helping the US Forest Service fight wildfires raging in Colorado and several northwestern states. Since June 25, four Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s staging from Peterson AFB, Colo., have battled the flames; on June 30, four more aircraft arrived there. As of early on July 1 local time, these eight airplanes had dropped more than 190,000 gallons of fire retardant in 73 airdrops, states a Peterson release. Starting on July 2, four of the MAFFS C-130s will begin staging out of the Wyoming Air Guard’s base in Cheyenne, announced Cheyenne officials. This will give the Forest Service “tremendous flexibility to assist with several regional fires at once,” said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153rd Air Expeditionary Group commander. Two C-130s from Cheyenne’s 153rd Airlift Wing and two from the North Carolina Air Guard’s 145th AW will operate from Cheyenne. Two Aircraft from the California Air Guard’s 146th AW and two from Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd AW at Peterson will continue to stage from the Colorado base. (Includes Cheyenne report by Deidre Forster) (See also June 30 Cheyenne release.)