By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2015, August 17, 2015 — More than 440 California National Guard soldiers and airmen have been activated to help the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, fight fires throughout the state, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said today.
California is one of 10 states around the country reporting significant large-fire activity, Cal Fire said today on its website, noting that residents in many western states have been evacuated from their homes as hot, dry and windy conditions cause several large fires to burn.
Updating the press on Defense Department and National Guard efforts in California, Davis said, “We have four Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems or MAFFS staged at McClellan Air Tanker Base, right outside of Sacramento.”
This, he added, is in support of the National Interagency Fire Center’s efforts to fight fires throughout Northern California.
According to the NIFC, two of the aircraft are provided by the 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one is provided by the 153rd Airlift Wing in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and one is provided by the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Boise, Idaho-based NIFC is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. Eight agencies and organizations are part of NIFC.
More than 25,000 people are involved in wildfire fighting support, Davis said, “including 41 incident management teams and 2 area command teams,” whose crews to date have flown 114 sorties, conducting 134 drops and delivering more than 308,000 gallons of fire retardant on fires in the area.
“With the help of the Nevada National Guard,” he added, “ are employing a dozen helicopters in the effort.”