Military C-130 MAFFS airtankers drop on the Hough Complex

A C-130 MAFFS from the California Air National Guard drops retardant near the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway on the Mountain Fire.  Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nicholas Carzis.
Feather Publishing
Two C-130 MAFFS airtankers were used on the Hough Complex fires around noon on Monday.  These aircraft are operated by the Air National Guard in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Some interesting facts about the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) airtankers:

  • Operating one of the eight MAFFS aircraft costs $5,000 to $6,000 per hour. This is paid by the U.S. Forest Service or is charged to the fire.
  • After the crash of MAFFS 7 on the White Draw Fire near Edgemont, South Dakota in 2012, the  ”MAFFS 7″ number was retired.
  • The retardant is pumped out of the 3,000-gallon tank by compressed air stored in two tanks at 1,200 psi.
  • The MAFFS units were contracted by the U.S. Forest Service and manufactured by the  Aero Union company in Chico.
  • The military personnel working on a MAFFS aircraft typically fly for seven days, and then are relieved by a replacement crew.
  • The U.S. Forest Service supplies the ground support and retardant loading personnel when MAFFS are activated.

The C-130s reloaded in Chico following their drops.  While awaiting further orders, they were diverted to a new fire on the Stanislaus National Forest.  It is not know if they will return to help with the fires on the Plumas.

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