Air Force Featured Stories

Nevada Air Guard helps battle western wildfires

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber,
  • 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Nevada Air National Guard will support wildland firefighting operations in several western states at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center.

 The NIFC asked the Nevada Air Guard to provide one C-130 Hercules equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System.

The 152nd Airlift Wing aircraft will replace the 153rd AW out of the Wyoming ANG from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and join the 302nd AW, Air Force Reserve Command, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, which were both working with the USDA Forest Service and other state and federal agencies fighting wildfires across the west since Aug. 3.

All MAFFS units are based out of the Klamath Falls Airtanker Base in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Having military C-130s that can be converted into airtankers provides a critical “surge” capability to bolster wildfire suppression efforts when commercial airtankers are fully committed or not readily available.

A long, wet winter made conditions ripe for a late fire season this year, and the “High Rollers” are ready.

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

First Air Force - Air Forces Northern headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, U.S. Northern Command’s Air Component Command, is the Defense Department’s operational lead for the aerial wildland firefighting military efforts. The team is committed to excellence through training and interagency relationships.

So far this fire year, 85 fires have burned 546,988 acres in 12 states, according to the NIFC website.

The initial request lasts through the end of August. The “High Rollers” initially activated last firefighting season from Sept. 6-14, 2022, flying four sorties, accomplishing five drops and accumulating 8,087 gallons of fire retardant.

Air tankers help build lines of containment with retardant to help reduce the intensity and slow the growth of wildland fires. Dispatch centers deploy aircraft to drop fire retardant based on requests from civilian incident commanders.

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.

NIFC is the nation’s support center for wildland firefighting. It includes the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, U.S. Fire Administration, National Association of State Foresters, and state emergency response agencies.