BOISE, Idaho —
GOWEN FIELD, Idaho – Lower than two years after essentially the most devastating firefighting season in the US, the Modular Airborne Hearth Preventing System (MAFFS) spring coaching passed off at Gowen Discipline, Idaho, April 25-29, 2022.
Since 1974, the U.S. Forest Service and Division of Protection have operated beneath the joint program utilizing the Modular Airborne Hearth Preventing System, extra generally often known as MAFFS, which is employed by rolling into the again of a army C-130 plane.
MAFFS is activated by the Forest Service to bolster wildfire suppression efforts when all industrial air tankers are absolutely dedicated or not available. That is by way of an settlement between the USDA, Forest Service and the Division of Protection. MAFFS will also be activated to be used on state fires by the Governors of the states the place the Air Nationwide Guard flight crews are based mostly.
“Spring coaching is the place we knock off the cobwebs,” mentioned Chief Grasp Sgt. Cameron Pieters, flight engineer assigned to the 152nd Operations Group. “We haven’t flown any aerial firefighting since final season and that is to organize us and get us prepared for the upcoming fireplace season.”
Throughout this yr’s spring coaching, MAFFS outfitted army C-130s flew a complete of 149 sorties, 184.52 hours, disbursing of a complete of 433,065 gallons of water in 902 drops throughout a number of drop zones across the Boise and Gowen Discipline space.
“We’re grateful for the group assist supplied by the folks close to Gowen Discipline, Idaho as our flight and plane floor crew members completed intense and very important wildfire coaching to be prepared for the nation’s wants,” mentioned Air Drive Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, First Air Drive, Air Forces Northern. “I’m additionally happy with the dedication and teamwork of the army joint power and interagency crew.”
The 4 army MAFFS items embody: the 152nd Airlift Wing, Nevada Air Nationwide Guard; the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air Nationwide Guard; the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air Nationwide Guard and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Drive Reserve, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Every MAFFS unit has two C-130s recognized by an enormous orange quantity on each aspect of the C-130 plane and on its tail. Respectively, the Nevada Air Nationwide Guard has tails 8 and 9; Wyoming Air Nationwide Guard has tails 1 and three; California Air Nationwide Guard has tails 4 and 6; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Drive Reserve has numbers 2 and 5.
“This can be a enormous joint operation and to ensure that us to achieve success, it takes a whole lot of relationship constructing,” mentioned Maj. Alex Kassebaum, 192nd Airlift Squadron Director of Operations.
The companies concerned with the coaching included the Division of Protection, the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA), the Forest Service, the Nationwide Interagency Hearth Middle (NIFC), the Bureau of Land Administration and CAL FIRE.
Spring coaching is a chance for the air and floor crews to refine and sharpen their expertise to function as an efficient crew, in addition to to coach and certify new members of the crew.
“It’s about entering into the precise mindset,” mentioned Pieters. “As a flight engineer it’s our duty to assist the pilots, we undergo the checklists, we monitor all of the programs. Having good communication with the opposite crew members ensures we now have a protected flight.”
“Final season was an enormous firefighting season for us,” mentioned Pieters. “We had been deployed for 96 days and as a MAFFS group, we dropped practically 23 million kilos of fireplace retardant.”
Roughly 70,000 wildfires burn a median of about 6.5 million acres of land in the US annually. Airtankers are used to drop fireplace retardant to scale back the depth and gradual the expansion of wildfires in order that firefighters on the bottom can construct containment traces round them. Airtankers aren’t sometimes used to drop fireplace retardant to suppress wildfires immediately.
Within the occasion of activation through the fireplace yr, First Air Drive (AFNORTH), U.S. Northern Command’s Air Part Command, is the DoD’s operational lead for the aerial army efforts to assist USDA Forest Service-Nationwide Interagency Hearth Middle requests for fireplace suppression assist.