Specially Modified C-130s Activated to Fight Wildfires

Four C-130s saddled up with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System to help battle wildfires in Colorado. Responding to a National Interagency Fire Center request on June 24, the Defense Department activated two aircraft each from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing in Cheyenne and from Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd AW at Peterson AFB, Colo. The airplanes will stage from Peterson and are expected to be available no later than June 26, according to the US Forest Service. “We have been monitoring the fires and have had our aircrews, aircraft, and the MAFFS systems in a state of readiness anticipating a possible tasking,” said 302nd AW firefighting chief Lt. Col. Luke Thompson. The Forest Service, which owns the palletized MAFFS kits, wanted the firefighting C-130s “to ensure that we continue to have adequate air tanker capability as we experience very challenging wildfire conditions” in the Rocky Mountains region and southwestern United States, explained Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell in a June 24 agency release. These C-130s can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant over a large area in less than five seconds. (See also Peterson release and Tyndall release.)