Airmen at Beale AFB, Calif., have been making plans and room—just in case—to accept up to about 450 area residents should they need to evacuate their homes in the face of the continuing wildfires in the state. Meanwhile, the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group—an amalgam of Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve airmen with their specially equipped firefighting C-130s and Navy and Marine Corps helicopter firefighting forces—moved some of their aircraft from northern to southern California to more quickly aid firefighting efforts in the south as the wildfires continued to burn. On July 11, a Wyoming ANG C-130 attached to the 302nd AEG and operating out of McClellan airfield near Sacramento dropped the one-millionth gallon of fire retardant on the California wildfires. (1st Air Force report by Joe N. Wiggins; 302nd AEG report by SSgt. Luke Johnson)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.