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Wyoming Air Guard Deployed to Help Fight Fires in West

  • Published
  • By Jacqueline Marshall,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Wyoming National Guard

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing has been mobilized to help fight wildfires in the West.

At the request of the National Interagency Fire Center, U.S. Northern Command deployed two C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) to assist with wildland firefighting operations across western states. 

The Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne, and the 302nd Airlift Wing with the U.S. Air Force Reserve in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will each contribute one aircraft. The C-130s will report to Klamath Falls Airtanker Base, Oregon. Air Forces Northern, U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component Command, will oversee the military aerial operation supporting federal and state efforts.

“We are fully prepared to undertake this crucial mission. The MAFFS aircraft play a pivotal role in combating wildfires, and their swift deployment to affected areas allows us to respond rapidly to emerging fire incidents,” said Col. Barry Deibert, commander of the 153rd Airlift Wing. “Our primary goal is to enhance aircraft operations, ensuring the protection of lives and property, and providing unwavering support to the multi-agency firefighting response effort.”

The U.S. Forest Service owns the MAFFS equipment and supplies the fire retardant, while the Department of Defense provides the C-130 H and J model aircraft, flight crews, and maintenance and support personnel to fly the missions.

“The MAFFS Airmen stand ready to support our interagency partners as this wildfire season begins,” said U.S. Air National Guard Colonel Matthew Glynn, Air Expeditionary Group commander and vice commander for the 146th Airlift Wing. “2023 represents the 50th anniversary of this critical partnership between the Department of Defense, the United States Forest Service, and other state and federal agencies.”

The MAFFS are versatile fire-retardant delivery systems designed to seamlessly integrate with military C-130 aircraft, requiring no significant structural modifications. This adaptability allows the aircraft to be converted into airtankers swiftly. The MAFFS can deliver up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant along a quarter-mile stretch in less than 10 seconds.