Air Reserve Components Help Battle Forest Fires

Over a period of a few days, Air National Guardsmen and Air Force Reservists from around the US helped battle forest fires in northern Utah. They brought along eight Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems-equipped C-130s and launched six sorties from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, according to a July 24 release. Firefighters can request these C-130s when they need a “surge capability,” said Col. Charles Davis III, commander of Air Expeditionary Wing Wildland Firefighting. Each C-130 carries a 3,000-gallon tank filled with fire retardant but airmen don’t put out the fire. “We’re more [about] containment,” said Davis. “We do not put [the retardant] on the flames. We put it around the fire to stop it from expanding.” Airmen hailed from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina ANG’s 145th AW, Wyoming ANG’s 153rd AW, and the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd AW in Colorado.