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Jun 25, 2012 8:02 PM by Lacey Steele

C-130 MAFF's help fight Waldo Canyon Fire

You've probably seen the C-130's flying over the fire or maybe even in Pueblo.

We were there for their arrival and departure and have more on how they will help fight the fire.

The big message they want to send about the C-130's is the fact that there are only eight of these in the entire country, and half of those are now fighting this fire.

"Two right here from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, and two from the National Guard Unit in Wyoming," said Brig. Gen. Ken Todorov of U.S. Northern Command.

Each one has the ability to carry thousands of gallons of retardant.

They roll the needed equipment onto each aircraft then they fly out to pueblo where they fill up on retardant before heading to the fire.

"We can drop three thousand gallons in seven to ten seconds."

Just in the past ten years they've done a lot of work.

"Over eight million gallons of fire retardant and water on fires just like this one, so we're very, very honored and proud to get these assets in the mix," said Brig. Gen. Todorov.

"These fires are very fast moving, and to be able to have a resource like the MAFF and a C-130 aircraft with the capabilities they have is extremely important," said Terry McCann, U.S. Forest Service.

But there are hazards...

"Our drops are done at 150 feet above the ground so very low altitude," said Lt. Col. Dave Condit, Air Force Reserve Command Director. "Lots of hazards from the fire, the smoke, the terrain."

The fire is so big, their job is to try to slow it down right now, not put it out completely.

"The best we can hope to do is contain it and mitigate it from coming up into any resources and protect life and property," said Lt. Col. Condit. "We're going to try to box that fire in using lines of retardant, and we're just one tool in that big picture."

They say local reservists were just trained on this same situation in April, and they're ready to go.

It's also important to remember, the C-130's always have to wait on word from the Forest Service to jump into action because all of the resources actually belong to the forest service.

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