Charlotte military on standby for Israel firefighting help

Charlotte military on standby for Israel firefighting help

05 Dezember 2010

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Israel — It’s said to be the worst forest fire in Israel’s history. Charlotte’s Air National Guard 145th Airlift Wing is waiting for the call and ready to help. The 145th Airlift Wing Lieutenant Colonel Rose Dunlap says our two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) could be loaded up onto the C-130 airplanes and “ready to go out of here in two hours.” Dunlap says, “The conversations have been held, but we have not received the official tasking.”

There are a total of eight MAFFS in the United States. “We are the only Air Guard east of the Mississippi to have them,” Dunlap says.

The MAFFS unit fits inside a C-130 without structural changes, enabling a quick departure. The C-130’s drop water or a retardant, from about 150 feet high, through two rear aircraft tubes. In less than five seconds, the load can be discharged over an area one-quarter of a mile long and 60 feet wide.

Dunlap says we do special training for these unique missions. Some 50 to 60 Guard members could be a part of this Israel mission, depending upon the needs of the theater commander. She says, “They could get there in two days, with a stop somewhere in between.”

The Israel fire fatality count is at least 41, as the fire blazes through the Carmel Forest near Haifa. Authorities say the likely cause for this fire is negligence.

Aid is coming from worldwide. Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Britain, Cyprus, Turkey and the United States are dropping water, sending equipment or manpower.

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