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Fire center requests Nevada Air Guard C-130 

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The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) requested on Wednesday a C-130 aircraft from the Nevada Air National Guard to support wildland firefighting operations in several western states.

 The 152nd Airlift Wing C-130, equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS), replaces the 153rd Airlift Wing out of the Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne. The C-130 will join the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.  Both airlift wings are with the U.S. Forest Service and other state and federal agencies fighting wildfires across the West since Aug. 3.

According to a spokesperson from the Nevada ANG, all MAFFS units will initially be based out of the Klamath Falls (Oregon) Airtanker Base. Senior Master Sgt. Paula S. Macomber said having military C-130s that can be converted into air tankers provides a critical “surge” capability that can be used to bolster wildfire suppression efforts when commercial air tankers are fully committed or not readily available.

A long, wet winter had conditions ripe for a late fire season this year.

“The 152nd Airlift Wing, Nevada Air National Guard, proudly supports the aerial firefighting mission,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sargent, commander of the 192nd Airlift Wing. “We’ve dedicated people, aircraft, and training to this mission, and we are determined to help the nation and assist with this effort.

As of Wednesday, 85 reported fires have burned 546,988 acres in 12 states, according to the NIFC website.

Macomber said the initial request lasts through the end of August.  She said the High Rollers initially activated during the 2022 firefighting season from Sept. 6-14, flying four sorties, accomplishing five drops accumulating 8,087 gallons of fire retardant. 

The MAFFS aircraft 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.

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, and U.S. Forest Service. NIFC is the nation’s support center for wildland firefighting.

Steve Ranson
Steve Ranson
Steve Ranson is Editor Emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News.

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