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Wyo. Air Guard fighting fires in Oregon and Idaho

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing continued fighting wildfires in the northwestern United States, specifically Oregon and Idaho, by using C-130 cargo aircraft outfitted with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System II (MAFFS II).

The two C-130s were activated for the aerial firefighting missions Sept. 8 and began flying missions from an air base, in Boise, Idaho, under the direction of the National Interagency Fire Center, Sept. 11. One of the 153rd's C-130 dropped 2,759 gallons of fire retardant on the Indian Gulch Fire, near Hailey, Idaho. The other dropped 2,700 gallons of retardant on the Garden Fire, near Fort Rock, Ore.

This is the second aerial firefighting deployment for the 153rd Airlift Wing this year. The first was in April, to fight wildfires in Texas.

The Wyoming Air National Guard is one of four military units nationwide equipped with the MAFFS II, capable of dispersing 3,000 gallons of fire retardant per load. Select aircrews from the 153rd Airlift Wing are certified annually, by the U.S. Forest Service, to fly the aerial firefighting mission.

The Wyoming Air National Guard began aerial firefighting in 1975, with the original Modular Airborne Firefighting System. The unit has fought fires throughout the U.S. and overseas, in Indonesia.