National Guard Unit is based out of Channel Islands Air National Guard Station
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Calif. - The California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, (146 AW) in support of California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection (CAL FIRE), began conducting Air Tanker Base operations Sunday on Channel Islands Air National Guard Station (CIANGS) in Southern California.
Members of CAL FIRE and the 146th AW prepared the flightline and set up retardant-reloading pits and hoses in order to begin airtanker-reloading operations, greatly increasing firefighting efforts across the state. The addition of CIANGS as a tanker-reload station shortens reload-wait times and return-flight distances from critical drop areas.
"With wildfires burning in Southern California and the Central Coast, the location of the base for reloading the MAFFS air tankers provides a strategic location for us to attack these fires," said Chief Dave Teter, CAL FIRE's deputy director of fire protection. "The support our Guard partners provide to us in times of extreme fire activity is invaluable."
Two C-130J Hercules airtankers from the 146th AW, each equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems, or MAFFS, were activated Tuesday and have been supporting wildfire suppression efforts across Southern California throughout the week, having dropped 81,000 gallons of retardant as of this morning. A MAFFS C130J airtanker 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.
"This base has the unique capability to create an air tanker base when local fire behavior becomes extreme and quick response time is essential to save life and property," said Col. Bryan Allen, 146th Airlift Wing Operations Group Commander. "The tanker base at Channel Islands Air National Guard Station is capable of loading retardant on all large air tankers, including military and civilian, commercial and government operated."
"Tankers can be reloaded in as little as 15 minutes at this base," said Maj. Sheila Smith, 146AW MAFFS Program Manager. "The Channel Islands Air Tanker Base is a combined effort between CAL FIRE, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California Air National Guard. We are continually ready to engage in safe, efficient and effective aerial firefighting in the air or on the ground."
For more information on the 146th Airlift Wing's involvement in the California wildfire effort, please contact Major Kimberly Holman, public affairs officer, at (805) 340-7301.