Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wildland fire training at Gowen Field

MAFFS Drop, originally uploaded by Jake Putnam.

Boise--Giant C-130 cargo planes have invaded the Treasure Valley. The planes are practicing fire support training missions at Gowen Field.

MAFFS is short for Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems and the training is an annual event that certifies crews and aircraft for the wildfire season if needed. The planes are used to backup the nation's private air tanker force in case of catastrophic wildfires this summer.

MAFFS are C-130 Cargo planes with self-contained reusable 3000-gallon aerial fluid dispersal tanks that allows the C-130's to be converted to wildland firefighting airtankers. The system has been used in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Indonesia.

The drop system inside the plane has pneumatically powered tank modules that can drop water and retardant on fires that help ground crews contain wildfires. C-130 aircrews are making drops on wildfires outside of Austin, Texas today. Overall fire officials are gearing up for a long fireseason in throughout the west in 2011.

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