U.S. Forest Service modifies MAFFS operations

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  • 153rd Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
A favorable fire outlook has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to allow the 302nd Airlift Wing's two MAFFS-equipped C-130s to return home today.

"The forest service is very comfortable with where they are, in terms of fire danger," said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153 Air Expeditionary Group commander. "There is some lightening in the long-term forecast, so we're going to keep California here for now."

Under the modified request for assistance received today, the 146th Airlift Wing's two C-130s will remain activated and continue operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho.

Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has completed more than 327 drops, releasing more than 799,585 gallons of retardant on Rocky Mountain area fires.

The Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems 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.

The MAFFS program is a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Defense. The forest service owns the MAFFS equipment and supplies the retardant. DoD provides the C-130 aircraft, pilots, maintenance and support personnel to fly the mission.

MAFFS provides a surge capability that can be used to boost wildfire suppression efforts when commercial airtankers are fully committed or not readily available.

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.

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