Three C-130s Now Fighting California Fires

A third specially equipped Air Force C-130 joined firefighting efforts in California this week as flames burned in five large fires in northern California.

The latest Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130H from the Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing began operating out of the former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., on July 5. The C-130 flew three of the 13 total MAFFS retardant drops that day.

“It’s an honor to do this mission—we take it to heart,” MAFFS Mission Commander Capt. Jennifer Kanakis said in a 1st Air Force/Air Forces Northern release. “We’re responding with urgency to help suppress the fires.”

MAFFS 8 joined MAFFS 9, another C-130H from the same unit, and MAFFS 6, a C-130J from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing.

As of July 6, the aircraft have made 52 drops on five fires, dropping more than 152,000 gallons of fire retardant.

The five fires are part of the Salt Fire north of Redding, the Lava Fire near Mount Shasta, and the Dotta Fire north of Portola. Two had been suppressed with the help of the aircraft: the Tangle fire north of Tangle Blue Lake and the Juniper Fire in far northeast California, according to 1st Air Force.

The first C-130 was activated June 29 to start fighting the fires. The aircraft are equipped with the MAFFS, which is a roll-on system with a 3,000-gallon tank that shoots water or retardant from the rear parachute door.