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Reserve C-130s to help fight Colorado fires

Jun. 12, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Two C-130s equipped with the Modular Air Fire Fighting System will help fight wildfires in southern Colorado.
Two C-130s equipped with the Modular Air Fire Fighting System will help fight wildfires in southern Colorado. (Staff Sgt. Stephany D. Richards / Air Force)
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The Air Force is now entering the fight against wildfires in Colorado.

Two specially equipped C-130s from the Reserve 302nd Airlift Wing have been requested to fight the wildfires that have torched homes and forced evacuations in southern Colorado.

"We are ready to support containment efforts today if called upon," said Lt. Col. Luke Thompson, 302nd chief of aerial firefighting, in a statement.

The U.S. Forest Service requested help from the 302nd late Tuesday and the wing is beginning missions this afternoon.

The two C-130s are equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, according to the Air Force.

Four wildfires have been burning across the state, and have forced thousands to evacuate. One fire near Black Forest has destroyed more than 40 homes and is 9 percent contained. Another burning near Royal Gorge Bridge has burned three structures and forced the evacuation of a prison in Canon City. Others are burning near Fort Collins and in rural Huerfano County.

The Air Force Academy has provided personnel to the Incident Management team, as well as nine firefighters and two fire trucks to assist with the Black Forest fire.

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