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USAF C-130s reach 500 sorties, drops during firefighting efforts in western U.S.

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Timothy Williams explains the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) to Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, at the Wyoming Air National Guard base, Cheyenne, Wyo., Aug. 7, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Timothy Williams discusses the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) with Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, during the general’s visit to the Wyoming Air National Guard base, Cheyenne, Wyo., on Aug. 7. On Aug. 10, a total of six MAFFS-equipped C-130 aircraft from Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units in Wyoming, California, Nevada, and Colorado flew 14 sorties and conducted 14 drops bringing their total to 517 sorties and 514 drops since June 30. Also in support U.S. Forest Service firefighting efforts in the western U.S., two ANG RC-26 aircraft have flown 62 sorties, logging approximately 218 flying hours flights, to ID and map potential fire hotspots. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), provides support to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in conducting wildland fire fighting operations as requested. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component Command, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jacqueline Marshall)

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, sits on the flight line prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force RC-26B Metroliner aircraft assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, sits on the flight line prior to departing on a wildland fire mapping and detection mission in support of the U.S. Forest Service at the Eugene Airport, Eugene, Ore., August 1, 2021. The RC-26 is tasked with utilizing its highly mobile platform by making infrared images and video of the fires from above in order to map and detect wildland fires and hotspots in the western region of the United States. The RC-26 crews can detect hotspots before they become fires and help direct teams to those locations. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military wildland fire fighting response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)

CAL FIRE employees load retardant into the MAFFS system of an Air National Guard C-130, designated "MAFFS 8 out of Reno, Nev." July 13, 2021, from CAL FIRE Air Tanker Base, McClellan Park, Calif.

CAL FIRE employees load retardant into the MAFFS system of an Air National Guard C-130, designated "MAFFS 8 out of Reno, Nev." July 13, 2021, from CAL FIRE Air Tanker Base, McClellan Park, Calif. The Air Force C-130 MAFFS-equipped aircraft, as requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and approved by the Secretary of Defense, are providing unique fire-fighting capabilities. Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) are the U.S. Forest Service’s portable fire-retardant delivery systems can be inserted into military C-130 aircraft without major structural modifications to convert them into air tankers when needed. They can discharge their entire load of up to 3,000 gallons of retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide, or make variable drops. Once the load is discharged, and the aircraft land at the tanker base, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

A MAFFS C-130 aircraft drops a water load in the Tahoe National Forest for a training exercise.

A MAFFS C-130 aircraft drops a water load in the Tahoe National Forest for a training exercise. Various wildfire agencies, CalFire, and four military MAFFS wings convened in Sacramento for an annual MAFFS recertification and training. MAFFS stands for modular airborne firefighting systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Wright)

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Timothy Williams discusses the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) with Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, during the general’s visit to the Wyoming Air National Guard base, Cheyenne, Wyo., on Aug. 7. On Aug. 10, a total of six MAFFS-equipped C-130 aircraft from Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units in Wyoming, California, Nevada, and Colorado flew 14 sorties and conducted 14 drops bringing their total to 517 sorties and 514 drops since June 30. Also in support U.S. Forest Service firefighting efforts in the western U.S., two ANG RC-26 aircraft have flown 62 sorties, logging approximately 218 flying hours flights, to ID and map potential fire hotspots. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), provides support to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in conducting wildland fire fighting operations as requested. First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component Command, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial military efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jacqueline Marshall)