Four specially equipped C-130s deployed to Kirtland AFB, N.M., continue to help fight wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico. Through Tuesday, the four Modular Airborne Firefighting System-carrying C-130s had flown a total of 24 sorties since this mission began on June 16, dropping a combined total of 65,035 gallons of retardant (591,809 pounds) in 28 airdrops, an Air Forces Northern spokesman told the Daily Report Wednesday. They’ve gone up against fires in New Mexico near Pacheco Canyon northeast of Santa Fe and Raton near the Colorado border and in Arizona in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest west of Forest Lakes. Two MAFFS C-130s from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands ANG Station began the aerial support, buttressed three days later by the arrival of two aircraft from the North Carolina Air Guard’s 145th AW in Charlotte. (See also Tyndall report by Tom Saunder.)
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.