Guard C-130s busy battling wildfires

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Two Wyoming Air National Guard C-130s are flying fire-suppression missions to help firefighters battle blazes in Idaho and Montana.

The crews, assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing based in Cheyenne, have flown two airdrops and discharged about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Hard Creek fire in Idaho, four airdrops of about 9,000 gallons of retardant at the Thompson River fire in Montana and four airdrops of about 3,000 gallons of retardant at the Warland fire in Montana, according to the American Forces Press Service.

Since July 20, Defense Department aircraft have flown 65 airdrops and dropped more than 114,300 gallons on wildfires in the Northwest and the Great Basin, according to AFPS.

The C-130s are outfitted with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, featuring equipment that can drop 3,000 gallons of retardant or water in about five seonds. The aircraft are controlled by a joint Defense Department and U.S. Forest Service program and are activated when private tankers can no longer meet the needs of the Forest Service.

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