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Wyo. Air Guard activated for MAFFS mission

Release Number: 080216

A Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 equipped with the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems will be launched to fight wild fires in the Western United States tomorrow.

The Forest Service activated 20 personnel and two MAFFS-equipped C-130s yesterday afternoon, one from the 153rd Airlift Wing in Wyoming and the other from the 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado, instructing them to arrive in Boise, Idaho, and to start flying over regional forest fires no later than tomorrow at noon.

This is the first 2016 MAFFS activation for the four military units that perform the mission.

"We have been asked to assist in light of the elevated fire danger in a number of geographic areas, including the Great Basin, California and the Northern Rockies," said Col. Scott Sanders, a member of the Wyoming Air National Guard who, in his second year as MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group commander, has tactical control over the MAFFS aircraft. "We are able to provide surge capabilities that allow the National Interagency Fire Center to maintain the level of support on current incidents and support additional ones, should they occur."

The MAFFS mission is a joint Department of Defense 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 MAFFS system is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service which is placed into the back of a C-130, 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.