Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reserve C-130s respond to Lime Gulch fire

by Ann Skarban
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/20/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Two Air Force Reserve Command C-130s equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighter Systems responded to the Lime Gulch fire in southern Jefferson County, Colo. June 19.

The U.S. Forest Service-generated launch order was received shortly after 2 p.m. by the AF Reserve aircrews who were on alert status at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, also in Jefferson County. Within 15 minutes of receiving the order, the MAFFS-equipped aircraft departed for the fire.

The aircraft assigned to the 302nd Airlift Wing performed load and return missions, making seven MAFFS drops, releasing more than 18,000 gallons of retardant to aid in the suppression of the advancing fire.

The MAFFS aircraft were activated by a U.S. Forest Service request for assistance June 11 when the U.S. Forest Service was not able to fill orders for airtankers with commercial assets.

"We needed to mobilize MAFFS earlier this year because we had more widespread fire activity requiring airtanker support and fewer commercial airtankers available. Last year by this time we had already mobilized additional airtankers through cooperators in addition to our exclusive use contract airtankers," said Jennifer Jones, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Forest Service at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise,

Prior to the Lime Gulch fire, the MAFFS C-130s supported fire suppression efforts on the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs and the Ward Gulch fire near Rifle, Colo.

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