By California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing
Two C-130 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped aircraft assigned to the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing (146AW) and the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing (302AW), Colorado Springs, are mobilizing to Klamath Falls Airtanker Base by means of the U.S. Forest Service’s extension request for aerial firefighting support assets assigned to the Department of Defense.
As of August 30, 2023, all four of the U.S. Air Force’s component MAFFS wings will have traversed to Klamath Falls Airtanker Base in support of wildfire suppression efforts as the MAFFS program recognizes its 50th year of partnership between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Forest Service.
Commander for the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard Col. Christopher F. Dougherty, says his wing is always ready to support wildfire suppression efforts and that the time-tested MAFFS program is in good hands.
“We are eager to continue this support for the 2023 wildland firefighting season. Our 146th Airmen are fully trained and stand ready to respond. I’m very proud of the airmen involved in the MAFFS program, and I’m very happy to be able to work with such great partners. The enduring partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve is truly special. Our unwavering commitment to supporting the people of our states and nation in times of natural disaster has been demonstrated repeatedly over the past 50 years and will continue well into the future.” said Dougherty.
The eight C-130 Hercules aircraft that are part of the program are equipped with the Forest Service’s MAFFS, which can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in less than 10 seconds across a quarter-mile line. The system slides into the back of the military aircraft, and retardant is released through a nozzle on the rear left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to provide a critical “surge” capability to help slow or stop the spread of wildland fires. MAFFS aircraft are only activated when all commercial airtankers that are part of the national airtanker fleet are fully committed or not readily available.
The NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center) is the nation’s support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC, including the
Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, U.S. Fire Administration, National Association of State Foresters, and state emergency response agencies.
For more information on the MAFFS program, visit: www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/planes/maffs.