By 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The U.S. Forest Service and the Air Force Reserve will hold its annual MAFFS training May 16 through 20 at Peterson AFB with flight operations out of Peterson AFB. The MAFFS training, sponsored by the U.S. Forest service and hosted by the 302nd Airlift Wing will include both classroom and flight certification for military flight crews, civilian lead plane pilots and various support personnel to include Pueblo tanker base personnel and the Pueblo Interagency dispatch. Additional personnel from CalFire, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the State of North Carolina will also provide support during the certification training at Peterson AFB.
During the annual training and re-certification, the MAFFS training aircrews will drop only potable water on remote target sites in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, Bureau of Land Management land, and military ranges. Rural residents may see low flying C-130 aircraft during the day. The training will ensure the Wing’s 10 MAFFS aircrews, support personnel and MAFFS-equipped C-130s are ready when requests for assistance are made by the U.S. Forest Service, National Interagency Fire Center
C-130s equipped with the slide-in U.S. Forest Service MAFFS units can drop up to three thousand gallons of retardant or water to aid in the suppression of wildfires. These trained military personnel along with the MAFFS equipment are activated to supplement the civilian air tanker program during periods of high wildfire activity throughout the nation. In 2013 the 302nd Airlift Wing MAFFS equipped C-130s, aircrew and personnel supported fire suppression operations in six states, including drops on the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs.
The military authority for the MAFFS program was created in the early 1970’s to support wildland firefighting through an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. Today, the military aircraft are requested by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and activated through the U.S. Northern Command, based on an agreement with the Department of Defense.