At the request of the U.S. Forest Service, one Nevada Air National Guard C-130 aircraft will deploy Saturday to support firefighters in central California.
The Nevada Air National Guard’s activation as a firefighting surge capacity for the U.S. Forest Service could last up to one month depending on the need for assets fighting fires currently threatening life and property and blowing smoke into Northern Nevada.
The Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing was selected last year as the newest of four Department of Defense military units equipped with the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS.
MAFFS equipment and aircraft are activated to supplement U.S. Forest Service and civilian air tankers during periods of high activity on large-scale wildland fires throughout the nation. By law, these military aircraft are not requested until available U.S. commercial aircraft have been pressed into service and the private fleet is determined to be in need of assistance.
The military aircraft are requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and activated through the U.S. Northern Command based on an agreement with the Department of Defense.
MAFFS rolls into the back of a C-130 aircraft with water or retardant released through a nozzle located on the left rear side of the plane. The system can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds over an area one-quarter of a mile long and 60-feet wide, and can refill in less than 12 minutes. Congress established the military MAFFS program in the early 1970s to support wildland firefighting through an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.
Call Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus at (702) 265-6301 or the 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office at (775) 788-4515 for information.