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Hollywood Guard and U.S. Forest Service conduct critical aerial firefighting training in Southern California > 146th Airlift Wing > Article View

Hollywood Guard and U.S. Forest Service conduct critical aerial firefighting training in Southern California > 146th Airlift Wing > Article View


CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. – The United States Forest Service held its annual certification and training event for the aerial firefighting program known as MAFFS (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System) with two of the four crews assigned to the Air Force Ministry of Defense. The Reserve's 302nd Airlift Wing, Colorado Springs, Colo., and the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, nicknamed the “Hollywood Guard.” Working with wildland firefighting agencies such as CAL FIRE and the Bureau of Land Management, the multi-agency MAFFS program launched its first iteration of training this week at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station. Normans.

The same year as its centennial celebration and one year after the 50th anniversary of the MAFFS program, the 146th Airlift Wing is conducting MAFFS training for the second consecutive year.

MAFFS, a unique partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Defense, shares a combination of resources supporting aerial firefighting operations, including equipment, personnel and aircraft that provide firefighting capability. “surge” critical to the U.S. Forest Service in slowing or stopping fires. wildfire spread when all commercial air tankers in the national air tanker fleet are fully engaged or not readily available.

The United States Forest Service conducts this training event annually, requiring any aircrew participating in this mission to obtain certification before they can support wildland firefighting operations as part of their training requirements. annuals. Thereafter, MAFFS crews will continue to complete their experience throughout the year once they begin supporting MAFFS missions following certification training. With the pace of an often busy fire season, MAFFS staff must ensure they are making the most of each training opportunity.

Although the number of wildfires in the United States is measured as an average for the last year, they hold the record for the smallest area burned over the past 25 years. During this period, MAFFS air tankers were first used on August 3, 2023 and released on September 6, 2023. During this 35-day activation, the MAFFS crew flew 69 missions providing 73 drops of retardants totaling 185,263 gallons.

While no one can predict when the next major fire will occur, the only constant force ready to meet the challenges of a busy fire season are the people who support MAFFS.

Col. DeAnna Franks, 302nd Airlift Wing Operations Group commander and this year's Air Expeditionary Group commander for all Department of Defense assets for the MAFFS mission, says the annual training events are a pivotal moment in the season before fires to ensure preparedness across the MAFFS business.

“MAFFS is a strong partnership with numerous agencies and support functions that work closely together to successfully accomplish large-scale aerial firefighting missions. This is why MAFFS training is so important as it provides us with the opportunity to capitalize on our collaborative efforts with all participating agencies. Completing our annual training every year is critical because it allows our crews to gain the critical training hours we need before responding to an actual fire,” Franks said.

Franks says the success of this complex partnership is based on valuable cooperation over the past 50 years.

“Modular, the first word in the MAFFS acronym, could perhaps be the best word to corroborate how flexibly and efficiently our working partnerships have developed over the past 50 years. Last year in December, the MAFFS community collectively celebrated its 50th anniversary with all of our partners working within the US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Bureau of Land Management, and many other valuable pest control assets. fires across the county that support the mission of MAFFS. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the impact of this mission and the uniqueness of everyone involved in the MAFFS program,” Franks said.

Franks added, “For me, when I think about the success of this government program that has been around for so long, it is clear to me why the MAFFS mission has been so successful. The people of MAFFS are a testament to the program because of all the great work they do, and it is an absolute honor to work alongside everyone who supports the mission.

Kim Christensen, deputy director of operations for the US Forest Service and one of the driving forces behind MAFFS training in the Channel Islands, has been part of the MAFFS mission since 2012, says she always enjoys coming to work with the people involved in the MAFFS Mission after all these years.

“Teamwork and partnerships are truly what make the program successful. Besides the airlift wings, a number of other federal and state agencies and local departments are also involved. Airlift wing members who participate in the MAFFS program are accomplished professionals. They take annual training very seriously and are always willing to help us suppress wildfires, whenever we ask them to,” Christensen said.

Utilizing the same training program as the previous year, the two training events will take place over two separate weeks to help alleviate the busy schedules of the 3 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve components involved. Two additional Air National Guard units assigned to the MAFFS mission from the Nevada Air National Guard's 152nd Airlift Wing and the Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing will also travel to the Islands Air National Guard Station Anglo-Normandes to complete their training and certification in early May.

For more information and stories about the MAFFS mission, please visit the MAFFS AEG page at




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