Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Air Force MAFFS operations drop 25,000 gallons of retardant on first day

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kendra Alba)
An aircraft releases a fire-retardant solution to help stop the spreading of the burning fires at Black Forest, Colo., June 12, 2013.

By Tech. Sgt. Stephen Collier

302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from Colorado’s 302nd Airlift Wing flew their first Colorado aerial firefighting support missions of the year June 12, dropping fire retardant on the Black Forest fire.

302nd AW aircrews fighting the nearly 9,000-acre blaze performed 10 drops, releasing approximately 25,000 gallons of fire retardant from U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130s, helping to contain the fire’s path.

The MAFFS system is a self-contained, portable aerial firefighting system, which can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, over an area one-quarter of a mile long by 60 feet wide. Once a load is discharged, the MAFFS system can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the 302nd AW’s aerial firefighting mission. Since 1993, the wing’s Air Force Reservists and C-130 Hercules aircraft have supported numerous fires, including Colorado’s 2002 Hayman fire, California’s Big Sur fire in 2008 and the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire in nearby Colorado Springs.

For more information on fires throughout Colorado and the United States, visit the National Interagency Fire Center’s website at

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