Last weekend members of the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing from Colorado Springs with Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing out of Cheyenne began a weeklong aerial wildland firefighting training and certification session hosted at the air tanker base at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (Jeffco) near Denver, Colorado. Two C-130s from Colorado Springs and one from Cheyenne were on hand.
The C-130 Hercules aircraft can be equipped with the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS), which can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. The system slides into the back of the military aircraft and retardant is sprayed under pressure through a nozzle in the troop door on the left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to supplement the civilian airtanker program to slow the spread of wildland fires.
The training was originally scheduled to take place in Boise at the end of April, but that was cancelled because of COVID-19. There may be another MAFFS training event in a month or so out west for the crews from Reno and southern California.