There are now two Air Force C-130s supporting firefighting efforts in the western United States following the National Interagency Fire Center’s decision to reduce its request for them from four aircraft to two, announced service officials on Sept. 11. Accordingly, two Modified Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s from Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing returned to Peterson AFB, Colo. on Sept. 7, where they remain on standby, they said. This left one MAFFS C-130 each from the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing and the California ANG’s 146th AW supporting the firefighting efforts out of McClellan Air Tanker Base in Sacramento, Calif. Earlier this month, NIFC released two additional C-130s from MAFFS operations in Idaho. This fire season now stands as the second busiest year in the history of the MAFFS C-130s, said the officials. The MAFFS force has dropped more than 2.4 million gallons of fire retardant in 1,003 sorties over 10 states from June 25 to Sept. 10, they said. 1994 was the only busier year.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.