By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2015 – California Air National Guardsmen and Air Force Reservists are assisting first responders in fighting ongoing wildfires in Northern California, the Pentagon’s press operations chief said in a briefing here today.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the blaze has been ravaging the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco and has tripled in size over the weekend. The fires have expanded to cover about 84 square miles and 56,000 acres as authorities ordered more than 12,000 people to evacuate their homes.
“Nearly 1,100 California Guard soldiers and airmen on a state active-duty status, along with 11 Guard helicopters, are supporting [The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection] and the California Office of Emergency Management at fires in the northern part of the state,” Davis said.
C-130s Joining the Effort
Additionally, the California Air National Guard deployed two C-130 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, or MAFFS, to McClellan Airfield outside of Sacramento so they can assist first responders with the Rocky Fire, he said.
Further efforts, according to Davis, include the activation of two Air Force Reserve MAFFS aircraft slated to depart their home station of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, today.
Davis explained the Peterson aircraft will join the two National Guard C-130s at McClellan to support the National Interagency Fire Center’s effort in containing the wildfires throughout the state.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is involved in the firefighting efforts, as well as those who have been personally impacted by this event,” he said.