Story originally written by Brendan LaChance | Oil City News
CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Air National Guard said on Tuesday, Sept. 29 that a resident of northern California has expressed gratitude for the guard’s units who are helping fight wildfires in the Golden State.
“We fight fires to serve all of our fellow Americans, and sometimes it really hits close to home,” the Wyoming Air National Guard said. “Our own Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Fitch’s sister, Sara Tamir truly appreciates our efforts. Sara lives in Northern California where fires have forced families to evacuate their homes and clouded the air with smoke. Chief Fitch told us that unhealthy air kept Sara’s family inside for over 30 days, and Wyoming airplanes over California helped the two of them feel connected.”
“Sara said she is grateful and proud of her brother’s unit because she knows that airplanes from over 1,000 miles away are in the skies fighting fires across her state.”
The Wyoming Air National Guard expressed thanks for the words of gratitude for the guard’s airmen and mission.
“We are here for you and your family,” the guard said.
The Wyoming Military Department said on Sept. 18 that theWyoming Air National Guard 153rd Airlift Wing had been activated for firefighting efforts in California.
According to the release, one C-130 Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped (MAFFS) aircraft and eight crew traveled to Sacramento’s McCellan Airport, where they’re scheduled to operate around the area through Oct. 3.
Eight additional maintenance specialists from Wyoming also traveled to California to assist in the operation, which could be extended if required.
“We are always ready to support this critical mission,” said Col. Barry Deibert, 153rd Airlift Wing commander in the release. “Our goal is to support aircraft operations in order to saves lives, protect property and support the multi-agency firefighting response effort.”
According to the release, the MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system that is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and can discharge 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in five to 10 seconds. Refilling takes as few as eight minutes on the ground.
An unprecedented number of wildfires are burning in California and Oregon, taxing the nation’s firefighting crews.