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Wyo. Air Guard answers the Texas wildfire call

Master Sgt. Jeff Tschacher, 153rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard, directs a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) to start engine two in preparation to fight wildfires burning in Texas, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds. The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Master Sgt. Jeff Tschacher, 153rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard, directs a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) to start engine two in preparation to fight wildfires burning in Texas, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds. The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing conduct firefighting operations at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011.  The Airmen maintain and operate the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) housed aboard a C-130 Hercules which is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds.  The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing conduct firefighting operations at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. The Airmen maintain and operate the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) housed aboard a C-130 Hercules which is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds. The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing prepare to fill a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) with fire retardant at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011.  MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds.  The fire retardant has fertilizer in it to promote new growth after the fires have been put out.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing prepare to fill a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System(MAFFS) with fire retardant at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds. The fire retardant has fertilizer in it to promote new growth after the fires have been put out. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Larry Quinn, 153th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard, prepares to remove a fire retardant hose from a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011.  MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds.  Wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Larry Quinn, 153th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard, prepares to remove a fire retardant hose from a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds. Wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing remove a fire retardant hose from a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011.  MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds.  Wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing remove a fire retardant hose from a C-130H Hercules equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 2011. MAFFS is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds. Wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing gather at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas to prepare for wildfire fighting operations, April 18, 2011.  The Airmen maintain and operate the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) housed aboard a C-130 Hercules which is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds.  The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

Airmen from California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing gather at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas to prepare for wildfire fighting operations, April 18, 2011. The Airmen maintain and operate the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) housed aboard a C-130 Hercules which is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under 5 seconds. The wildfires have spread across various parts of Texas and have burned more than 1,000 square miles of land. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)

A C-130 Hercules Modular Airborne Firefighting System aircraft takes off for a mission during an annual MAFFS exercise at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park in Greenville, S.C., on May 4, 2005.  The exercise is a one-week annual training and re-certification exercise joining air and ground personnel from the Federal Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, U.S. Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve units.  The exercise involves eight C-130 Hercules aircraft that fly continuous missions dropping water on South Carolina's Sumter National Forest to prepare crews for wild land firefighting missions.  The C-130 is assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne, Wyo.  DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)

A C-130 Hercules Modular Airborne Firefighting System aircraft takes off for a mission during an annual MAFFS exercise at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park in Greenville, S.C., on May 4, 2005. The exercise is a one-week annual training and re-certification exercise joining air and ground personnel from the Federal Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, U.S. Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve units. The exercise involves eight C-130 Hercules aircraft that fly continuous missions dropping water on South Carolina's Sumter National Forest to prepare crews for wild land firefighting missions. The C-130 is assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne, Wyo. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Air National Guard will send 13 personnel and one aircraft to Texas in support of the Texas wildfires, on April 18. The Wyoming Air Guard is one of four military units nationwide equipped with the second generation of the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System or MAFFS 2, capable of dispersing 3,000 gallons of fire retardant per load.

According to Col. Steve Rader, vice commander for the 153rd Airlift Wing, this will be the first time Wyoming has used the new MAFFS 2. "It is a different delivery system. Instead of five separate tanks, it's got one large tank. And instead of two tubes coming out the back of the airplane, we've got one tube that comes out the paratroop door on the rear side, but it's got the same amount of retardant," Rader said. "We had two crews trained a couple of weeks ago in Colorado Springs, and they are ready for the mission."

Rader said that the aircraft and 13 member crew and maintenance personnel are scheduled to depart Cheyenne at 7 a.m., Monday, and will land at Dyess Air Force Base, near Abilene, Texas, where they will fall under the command and control of the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group from Boise, Idaho.

As of April 15, a total of 722,891 acres and 151 homes and structures have burned in Texas fires. There are approximately 1,250 firefighting personnel being managed by the Texas Forest Service from 34 states assigned to the Texas fires.

The last time the Wyoming Air National Guard was called to fight fires was in 2008, for fires in California.