RENO—One of Nevada Air National Guard’s C-130 aircraft, from the 152nd Airlift Wing “High Rollers”, deployed today to McClellan Airbase in Sacramento to assist the USDA Forest Service with large scale wildland firefighting throughout the western states. The aircraft is equipped with MAFFS, short for Modular Airborne Firefighting System.
“With all our various missions in support of our state and nation, wildland firefighting ranks as one of the most rewarding,” said Col. Jacob Hammons, commander, 152nd Airlift Wing. “We also enjoy working with the Forest Service and other federal and state agencies. This mission helps save life and property of our nation’s citizens.”
Nevada Air Guard said the High Rollers aircraft the second military unit to activate with MAFFS this year. The 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard, entered the initial activation last week. This is the first activation of MAFFS-equipped aircraft since July 2018.
“We’re experiencing elevated fire activity in several regions of the country,” said Kim Christensen, deputy assistant director for operations for the USDA Forest Service. “These aircraft will help boost our aerial firefighting capabilities for current and anticipated wildfire activity.”
MAFFS 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. The Nevada Air Guard said its ability to convert airtankers to assist with fire suppression efforts provides a valuable resource for wildland fire agencies, especially when commercial air tankers are unavailable.
In addition to the 152nd and 146th airlift wings, two other military units train and operate the USDA Forest Service’s MAFFS mission: the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, and the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
The National Interagency Fire Center, or NIFC, located in Boise, Idaho, 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 and the National Association of State Foresters.