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U.S. Forest Service deactivates MAFFS operations

A Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules assigned to the Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing lays a line of fire retardant June 27 against the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, Colo. Four MAFFS-equipped aircraft, two from the 153rd AW and two from the Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd AW, flew in support of the U.S. Forest Service to fight the Colorado wildfire. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany D. Richards)

A Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules assigned to the Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing lays a line of fire retardant June 27 against the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, Colo. Four MAFFS-equipped aircraft, two from the 153rd AW and two from the Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd AW, flew in support of the U.S. Forest Service to fight the Colorado wildfire. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany D. Richards)

Staff Sgt. Efren Enriquez, 30th Airlift Squadron propulsion craftsman, sprays the tail of a MAFFS-equipped C-130 on the flightline in Cheyenne, Wyo., July 3, 2012. MAFFS aircraft continue to operate in the Rocky Mountain region to assist with firefighting efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rusty Ridley)

Staff Sgt. Efren Enriquez, 30th Airlift Squadron propulsion craftsman, sprays the tail of a MAFFS-equipped C-130 on the flightline in Cheyenne, Wyo., July 3, 2012. MAFFS aircraft continue to operate in the Rocky Mountain region to assist with firefighting efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Rusty Ridley)

A C130-H equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) from the 153rd Airlift Wing in Cheyenne, Wyo. drops retardant near the Squirrel Creek fire about 70 miles east of Cheyenne, July 6, 2012. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Nicholas Carzis)

A C130-H equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) from the 153rd Airlift Wing in Cheyenne, Wyo. drops retardant near the Squirrel Creek fire about 70 miles east of Cheyenne, July 6, 2012. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Nicholas Carzis)

Airmen from the 153rd and 302nd Airlift Wings use the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft to respond to the Waldo Canyon wild fire in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 27, 2012. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100-feet-wide. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards)

Airmen from the 153rd and 302nd Airlift Wings use the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft to respond to the Waldo Canyon wild fire in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 27, 2012. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100-feet-wide. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards)

Air National Guard Master Sgts. Marshall Davis and Chris Reese prepare the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System unit inside their C-130 Hercules aircraft June 27 before launching to respond from Peterson Air Force Base to the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colo. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Davis and Reese are C-130 Hercules loadmasters assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, which is based in Cheyenne, Wyo. Peterson AFB is an Air Force installation located in southern Colorado.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany D. Richards)

Air National Guard Master Sgts. Marshall Davis and Chris Reese prepare the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System unit inside their C-130 Hercules aircraft June 27 before launching to respond from Peterson Air Force Base to the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colo. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Davis and Reese are C-130 Hercules loadmasters assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, which is based in Cheyenne, Wyo. Peterson AFB is an Air Force installation located in southern Colorado. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany D. Richards)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The U.S. Forest Service deactivated the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped military C-130s due to favorable fire conditions in the West.

The 153rd Air Expeditionary Group received the new Request for Assistance late Sept. 14, releasing the two MAFFS planes and crews that were still operating, as well as support and maintenance staff. All crews have reported back to their home stations.

The 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard, and the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, each had one C-130 operating out of McClellan for the last few weeks.

On Sept. 2, two C-130s from the Wyoming ANG's 153rd Airlift Wing were released from MAFFS operations in Boise, Idaho. The two C-130s from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd Airlift Wing, were released from duty Sept. 7.

"Although our planes and crews have returned home, we all know MAFFS can still be reactivated well into the fall," said Lt. Col. Donald Taylor, 153rd Air Expeditionary Group acting commander. "We have had a very busy season and know it's still too early to say the season is over for good."

According to MAFFS' 153rd Air Expeditionary Group leadership based in Boise, Idaho, this season has become the second highest in MAFFS history for gallons dropped surpassed only by the MAFFS season of 1994 when approximately 5 million gallons were dropped. This season, through Sept. 14, the MAFFS fleet released close to 2.5 million gallons of fire retardant during 1,011 drops on fires in 10 states.

MAFFS is a joint DOD and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

The U.S. Forest MAFFS-equipped C-130s are operated by four military units: The 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

This is the first year since 2008 that all four MAFFS wings had been activated simultaneously.

As a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service, MAFFS can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

For questions about the 145th Airlift Wing, please contact Lt. Col. Rose Dunlap at 980-721-4032.

For questions specific to the 146th Airlift Wing, please contact Maj. Kimberly Holman at 805-340-7301.

For questions specific to the 302nd Airlift Wing, please contact Mrs. Ann Skarban at 719-556-4005.

For questions specific to the 153rd Airlift Wing, please contact Ms. Deidre Forster at 307-631-4153.