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NORTHCOM officials provide update on wildfire efforts

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U.S. Northern Command officials provided an update Aug. 7 on support that Defense Department aircraft have provided to the battle against wildfires in the Northwest.

Two DOD C-130 Hercules equipped with the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems and under NORTHCOM's command and control are assisting at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Since July 20, DOD aircraft have conducted 76 airdrops and discharged more than 137,000 gallons of fire retardant.

Over the last 24 hours, officials said, DOD aircraft conducted two airdrops and discharged about 5,700 gallons of retardant on the Bald Sisters fire in Oregon. Over the same period, seven airdrops discharged about 11,600 gallons of retardant on the East Mountain fire in Idaho.

The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 aircraft assigned to units in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Wyoming are capable of dropping fire retardant using Forest Service MAFFS units. Aircrews, maintenance crews and support personnel undergo National Interagency Fire Center training and certification to perform these missions.

(Information courtesy of a U.S. Northern Command news release)