Military C-130s assist with Texas fires

The Texas Forest Service has this update on their fire situation. (The complete report is here.)

A Type I IMT (Wilder) has been ordered for the PK West Fire and a Type II IMT (Florida Red) has been ordered to support East Texas. A tanker base has been set up in Midland to support a DC-10 airtanker. Dyess Air Force Base has set up a tanker base to support the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) units on four USAF C-130s.

The 100 acre Pinnacle Fire, now 90 percent contained destroyed 6 homes, caused numerous evacuations, and threatened 100 homes & 10 businesses. Two MAFFS units from Del Rio dropped retardant on the fire that assisted in the saving of those structures. TFS ground crews continue to work this fire. A FEMA Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) was received.

The 145th Airlift Wing, Charlotte, NC and the 153rd Air Wing, Cheyenne, WY are providing one Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) C-130 aircraft each, along with two from the 146th Air Wing, Channel Islands, CA, and support personnel to the state of Texas. The aircraft and personnel are based at Dyess Air Force Base. On Saturday, April 16, two MAFFS from Peterson Air Force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado were mobilized to assist Mexico with two very large fires 40 to 60 miles south of the Texas border.

Also on April 16, Texas Governor Rick Perry requested the assistance from the federal government to help fight the fires in his state.

Here are three videos of the MAFFS C-130 air tankers dropping on fires in Texas on April 17, 2011.


The video below has some coarse language at the end.

The top 12 fires in Texas listed on the National Situation Report:

Top 12 Texas fires, April 19, 2011

MAFFS C-130 Texas 4-2011

Below are the tracks that N144Z, the Cessna Citation infrared mapping aircraft owned by the US Forest Service, left on FlightAware Monday night and very early Tuesday morning as it mapped fires in the Midland, Abilene, and Fort Worth areas. Each group of parallel lines indicate one fire that was mapped, or multiple fires if they are close together. The imagery is then analyzed by Infrared Imagery Interpreters who map the perimeters of the fires, the heat concentrations, and any spot fires outside the main perimeter, and then they calculate accurate acreages. This may be why the size of the fire at Possum Kingdom Lake 70 miles west of Fort Worth was adjusted overnight from an estimate of 63,000 to nearly 150,000 acres.

N144Z KABI to KMAF 4-18-2011


N144Z 4-19-2011

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Military C-130s assist with Texas fires”

  1. I’m assuming some of the aircraft in the videos are flying with the newer MAFFS II since 2 airctaft are from the 146th Wing.

  2. Good call, emt_micah.

    It appears that in all three videos and the still photo the MAFFS being used are the second generation, the MAFFS II. You can tell because instead of having two nozzels in the open rear cargo door, the retardant is exiting the aircraft through a single nozzle on the left side of the aircraft through the side paratroop door. However, it’s a little tough to tell in the third video. More information about the MAFFS II.

  3. It must be a great sight and feeling to see the C130 making drops with ur community in the the line of fire. You can tell by the voices the people are happy to see them there!!!

  4. We out here in so cal. have us the C130’s on are fire when we get busy and all are air tanks are being us on other fires in the state it good to see they are using them to help fight the wild fires in Texas C130 (MAFFS II) do great work..

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