C-130 works the Canyon Fire in Northern California

Napa County

C-130 air tanker retardant drop Canyon Fire California
A C-130 makes a retardant drop on the Canyon Fire in Napa County, California July 22, 2019. Photo by Kent Porter.

The Canyon Fire burned 64 acres July 22 in Napa County, California near Highway 128 and Wragg Canyon Road east of St. Helena.

I asked Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Kent Porter who took the picture if he got hit by the retardant and he said it missed him. The vehicle seen with the open door belonged to a California Highway Patrol officer, he said. Anyone who has had their vehicle slimed with retardant while the door was open will never let it happen a second time.

12 thoughts on “C-130 works the Canyon Fire in Northern California”

    1. Judging from the retardant pattern, it has to be one of Coulson’s. As far as I know CAL FIRE has not installed any retardant delivery systems in their C-130s, and if they have, at this stage it would have to be a MAFFS unit, and that pattern is not consistent with a MAFFS system.

        1. No, but there were two at McClellan when I was there last. One for Calfire, and the other one for the forest service. Our C-130 has been coming to most fires for training.

          1. Coulsen C-130 tankers 131 and 134 have been operating out of McClellan. The C-130 marked “US Forest Service” (tanker 116) is awaiting conversion to a Cal Fire tanker. Tanker 118, previously marked “US Forest Service” but now the one and only – so far – Cal Fire C-130 in not yet tanked, nor does it have a MAFFS system installed at this time. There is one other C-130 on the ramp at McClellan at present and that is USCG #1709, awaiting its turn to be reworked into a Cal Fire tanker. It is still in USCG markings.

  1. Nice picture.
    4 S-2 s, 1 Bae 146, 2 Bell 205 s, 2 air attack ships also worked on the Canyon Fire all afternoon. The wind picked up and spoting became an issue.
    Fuel is getting dry and ready…

    1. Mike, a MAFFS unit is the pressurized retardant delivery system that can be temporarily be installed in a C-130. It’s not the aircraft itself. The air tanker in the photo, most likely a Coulson aircraft, does not appear to have a MAFFS installed. One, the retardant would be coming out of the left side through the paratroop door, and two, the stream would be thinner. Two of the former Coast Guard HC-130Hs used a MAFFS unit off an on for a year or two before the Forest Service lost interest in the program. Photos of those two aircraft: T-116 and T-118.

  2. T-134 is the Coulson C-130 on the Cal Fire EU contract. It has a more pronounced black, red & white paint scheme than T-131.

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