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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2014

Wyoming Air National Guard flying Western firefighting missions

By U.S. Northern Command

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Two Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 aircraft equipped with the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS)  are assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in the Northwest, the Great Basin, and elsewhere in the West at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne.

In the last 24 hours, crews have conducted two airdrops and discharged about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Hard Creek fire in Idaho, four airdrops discharging about 9,000 gallons of retardant at the Thompson River fire in Montana, and four airdrops discharging about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Warland fire in Montana, officials said.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 aircraft assigned to units in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Wyoming are capable of dropping fire retardant using the MAFFS units, officials said. Aircrews, maintenance crews and support personnel undergo special National Interagency Fire Center training and certification to perform these missions each year, they added.

Elsewhere, the Oregon National Guard’s Aviation unit is scheduled to assist with the ongoing firefighting efforts south of Grants Pass. 

The Beaver Complex fire is located about 21 miles southeast of Ashland. 

Two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, two CH-47D Chinook helicopters, and a UH-72A Lakota have been committed to the mission. Aviation crews and support personnel have been mobilized to a helibase in the Beaver Complex area. 

Weather forecasters call for hot conditions in the area of the fire. On-site incident commanders will determine how best to use Oregon National Guard assets and personnel.