"MAFFS loadmasters are our most experienced and highly qualified," said Master Sgt.
Freeman, who flew missions during the Black Forest fire, has been flying MAFFS missions since 1991 and has helped train more than 100 loadmasters on MAFFS throughout his career.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE, requested MAFFS aircraft and personnel support through the state's governor and the Adjutant General of the state's National Guard.
The MAFFS can hold 3,000 gallons of retardant, which is released from a nozzle placed in the left rear troop door of the aircraft.
At the request of the USFS, MAFFS aircraft and aircrews remain activated to provide support throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Since MAFFS aircraft first provided support to the Black Forest fire last June 12, more than 169,000 gallons of fire retardant have been dropped on Colorado wildfires.
This year's MAFFS
operations have dropped more gallons of fire retardant than during the last nine fire seasons, officials said.
Will Dial, the second shift production supervisor, said MAFFS
operations take their toll on the airframe.
' aircrew, lead planes and other mission essential personnel recently sharpened their skills during a four-day MAFFS
training event hosted by the Forest Service and North Carolina ANG, which was primarily held in Greenville, South Carolina, and four nearby forestlands.
My family and I were waiting for the phone to ring (for the 302nd MAFFS
capability to be activated)."
Forest Service's annual MAFFS
is specialized equipment that is loaded into the cargo bay of a C-130 and is capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant at one time.