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Eight military C-130s join fight against California fires

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (Oct. 28, USTCNS) --- Two military C-130 Hercules have joined in the fight to help control wildfires in California and six more are on the way. The Department of Defense has eight fixed-wing planes, and associated crews, specially outfitted and trained for fighting fires - all eight have deployed to assist firefighters in California.

Each plane deploys with a six-member crew and a six-member backup crew who have been certified for aerial firefighting. Filled with special firefighting modules, the aircraft can carry 3,000 gallons of fire retardant fluid and drop it on targets in under seven seconds.

Air Force Lt. Col. Terry Johnson, U.S. Northern Command's Liaison Officer to U.S. Transportation Command, said the first two C-130s on station were from the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard at Channel Island. Three U.S. Air Force Reserve units are each sending two C-130s (with crews). The units are the 302nd, 153rd, and 145th Airlift Wings from Peterson AFB, Co., Cheyenne, Wyo., and Charlotte, N.C. respectively.

Johnson said all the crews are on orders to provide assistance for 30 days or until released by the National Forest Service's National Interagency Fire Center.

The C-130, first introduced in 1956, primarily performs airlift missions and has been a workhorse in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its design allows it to be configured for other missions, including aerial firefighting.
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