CHARLOTTE, NC --
The North Carolina Air National Guard plans to deploy approximately 40 personnel and two 145th Airlift Wing C-130 aircraft from Charlotte to the northern Israeli community of Beit Oren, near Haifa December 5, to assist international efforts to contain, control, and extinguish wildland fires raging through the area.
The Aircraft will join other American aerial fire fighting units and aircraft from Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Britain to fight the blaze that has already killed more than 40 and displaced thousands over the past three days.
The C-130s are loaded with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS. The unit is a series of pressurized tanks which hold approximately 3,000 gallons of Phos-check flame-retardant liquid. Directed by ground crews and led to the fire site by small, maneuverable lead planes, MAFFS aircraft drop retardant along the leading edge of a fire to prevent the spread of flames. Since 1974, MAFFS has saved land, lives and property from wild land fires in the United States and abroad. MAFFS is only activated stateside when all other air tanker resources are committed.
Only four airlift wings in the United States operate MAFFS. In addition to the 145 AW in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Air National Guard's 146th AW from Channel Islands, CA, the 153rd AW from Cheyenne, WY and the Air Force Reserve's 302nd AW from Colorado Springs, CO., make up the MAFFS force. The aircraft are the property of DOD and the modular units are the property of the U.S. Forest Service
The length of this mission is undetermined and will depend on the demands of the fire fighting efforts.
The aircraft are from the 145th Airlift Wing based at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
For related information on MAFFS please see the following websites:
North Carolina National Guard: www.nc.ngb.army.mil
U.S. Air Force: www.af.mil
Air National Guard: www.ang.af.mil
U.S. Forest Service MAFFS page: www.fs.fed.us/fire/aviation/maffs/
National Interagency Firefighting Center: www.nifc.gov