C-130 Firefighting Flights Resume

The flights to assist in Western wildland firefighting have resumed, the U.S. Northern COmmand announced July 3.

Firefighting support missions have resumed by the Pentagon's C-130 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System of seven aircraft, the U.S. North Command announced July 3. An operational hold had been announced a day earlier following the July 1 crash of a military C-130 from the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing during a firefighting mission in South Dakota.

It was the first crash in the 40-year history of the MAFFS program run jointly by the Defense Department and the U.S. Forest Service, according to the Air Force.

An official investigation of the cause of the crash is ongoing, according to the DoD announcement.

President Obama released a statement July 2 saying, "The full details are still under investigation, but the crew of this flight -– along with their families and loved ones –- are in our thoughts and prayers. The men and women battling these terrible fires across the West put their lives on the line every day for their fellow Americans. The airmen who attack these fires from above repeatedly confront dangerous conditions in an effort to give firefighters on the ground a chance to contain these wildfires -– to save homes, businesses, schools, and entire communities. They are heroes who deserve the appreciation of a grateful nation. I know Americans across the country share my concern for the well-being of the surviving members of the crew and my deep condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. And I know that Americans join me in expressing my deepest gratitude for the selfless determination they and thousands of men and women involved in this fight in states across the country demonstrate every day."

MAFFS is described as a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area a quarter of a mile long and 100 feet wide.

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