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Sunday, July 1, 2012

SD-BKF-White Draw MAFFS C-130 AIRCRAFT DOWN -

White Draw fire MAFFS Crash updates:


July 2nd Noon: Press Conference notes:  Causality list and more info on survivors will be announced after set time period. Survivors are seriously injured

MAFFS: All #MAFFS Nationwide have stood down taking operational pause, 1st MAFFS crash ever in 40 years of flying. #WhiteDraw

20:30hrs: OFFICIAL NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs Press release
MAFFS equipped C-130 crashes in South Dakota

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - At approximately 6 P.M. MDT, a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System equipped C-130 aircraft supporting fire fighting missions crashed in the southwest corner of South Dakota. The aircraft was supporting the efforts against the White Draw Fire.

The cause of the crash is not known and the incident is under investigation. There are no details on the status of the aircrew available at this time.

MAFFS is a joint DoD and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the Forest Service.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

For more information, contact USNORTHCOM Public Affairs at 719-554-6889 or 719-304-6097.NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs
July 1, 2012



20:30hrs: Reports that two or three crew members survived aircraft crash of C-130 #MAFFS air tanker. normal crew of six. A helicopter was able to land near the plane Sunday night and take three people to Custer to be transported by ambulance to a Rapid City hospital

1900hrs: A C-130 Hercules airplane helping to fight the White Draw fire near Edgemont went down this evening, according to authorities.

Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team have confirmed that an airplane went down near the White Draw wildfire and Search and Rescue is on the scene.

The plane was being used to help fight the fire near the southern Black Hills. Authorities say the plane was dropping water shortly before it went down.

The wildfire is 10 percent contained and has burned about 3,000 acres. It is burning about five miles northeast of Edgemont, primarily in a mix of grasslands and timber. More than 180 personnel are assigned to the fire. Workers are battling the blaze with the help of four helicopters and three air tankers. More crews and equipment have been ordered.

Officials say firefighters are facing additional hazards with the steep terrain and rattlesnakes.

Residents of five homes near Edgemont were given voluntary evacuation notices Saturday.

MILITARY FIREFIGHTING AIRCRAFT DOWN -  C-130 confirmed down 

Authorities with the Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team have confirmed that an airplane went down near the White Draw wildfire and Search and Rescue is on the scene.
The plane was being used to help fight the fire near the Black Hills. Authorities say the plane was dropping water shortly before it went down.
THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED AS INFORMATION IS CONFIRMED
White Draw (SD-BKF) east of Edgemont, SD


View MILITARY FIREFIGHTING AIRCRAFT DOWN - MAFFS in a larger map

(43 23 13N 103 45 17W) approx. 600 acres. Type 2 IMT (Fry) assigned

Video of MAFFS Operations:

    RELATED STORY:
    MAFFS crews train for mountain fire fighting scenarios by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Butterfield 153rd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs 6/29/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When you add heat, high elevation and mountainous terrain, you have a combination that makes an already difficult mission that much tougher. The Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System trained C-130 Hercules pilots of the 731st Expeditionary Air Squadron have been dealing with these conditions since they started flying June 25, 2012 here. They are tasked with fighting fires in the Rocky Mountain area by the U.S. Forest Service. "As far as the flying goes it's definitely the most challenging, most difficult flying we do. The terrain here is almost unprecedented," said Maj. Neil Harlow, a MAFFS-trained pilot with the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard. "Most of the time we drop on fires around 8,000 feet in elevation. We've been dropping around 10,000-11,000 feet in elevation on some of these higher fires. The terrain, especially around Boulder [Colo.], is so steep that when we do our downhill runs were dropping 1000 to 2000 feet to get a line on the side of the mountain." And besides the terrain, the weather is playing a role in this aerial fire-fighting mission. When it is hot the engines do not function as well as they do in colder weather, according to Maj. Richard Pantusa, a MAFFS-trained pilot with the 302nd Airlift Wing's, 731st Airlift Squadron. This week the pilots are dealing with weather in the upper 90s. "The airplane doesn't perform as well, and there is not nearly as much power as you are used to. But these are all things we train for, things we definitely take into account and discuss both on the ground in the air when we are training for it. So we're prepared for the challenges," said Pantusa. Last year the MAFFS-equipped C-130s from the 302nd and 153rd Airlift Wings fought fires in the flatter terrains of west Texas. And, while this year the fires are occurring in higher elevations and more mountainous terrain, the MAFFS-trained aircrews are up to the challenge. "The good news is this is the exact same terrain we flew in during MAFFS training this year. This is one of the advantages of training in Colorado. We dropped in very similar terrain, steep, same kind of fuel, same kind of sight pictures and even a lot of the same personnel are involved in this operation," said Pantusa. MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes. In addition to the 153rd and 302nd Airlift Wings, two other Air National Guard units, the 146th AW, Channel Islands, Calif., and the 145th AW, Charlotte, N.C., possess the ability to assist federal, state and local wildland fire fighting agencies and organizations with MAFFS. The MAFFS program is a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Defense.
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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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