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News > Group reviews 2013 wildfire season
MAFFS support Black Forest fire
A Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or "MAFFS"-equipped C-130 departs the Black Forest fire June 12 after dropping a line of fire retardant in northern El Paso County, Colo. An Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter can be seen scooping up water in an effort to aide firefighting efforts. Manned by Airmen of the 302nd Airlift Wing, both the C-130 aircraft and members were activated to support wildland firefighting efforts through a request from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. (Courtesy photo/Travis Leland)
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 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System
2013 among busiest aerial firefighting seasons in 41 years

Posted 12/18/2013   Updated 12/18/2013 Email story   Print story


by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs

12/18/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Representatives from across the United States wildfire fighting community met for a three-day after action review of the 2013 season Dec. 3-5 in the Heritage Club at Tyndall. 

Lt. Gen. William Etter,Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region -1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) commander, praised  Air Force efforts during the past season and encouraged the participants to engage in candid conversations about how to improve current practices and procedures.

"This meeting is really needed because this is such an important mission," Etter said. "It's vital we continue to refine our lessons learned and this gathering is the perfect opportunity to do that."

According to Col. Al Wimmer, A3 director, 2013 was one of the busiest modular airborne firefighting seasons in 41 years of operations.

"This after action review is a vital step in closing out the season for MAFFS," said Wimmer. "The team in attendance not only captured lessons but applied them in the form of revised publications, orders and deployment plans for the upcoming season. The Air Component often acts as the central point of focus, bringing together many different groups from the whole  government to make a mission happen for the American people."

After the initial greetings, participants broke into working groups for the rest of the meeting to study and discuss those lessons learned and develop a way ahead for the 2014 season.

"It was three days packed full of activities and hard work from everyone," said Lt. Col. Dawn Junk, meeting facilitator from the AFNORTH Operations Directorate. "The results of everyone's hard work produced positive way aheads."

Junk presented small group recommendations to Etter during her outbrief. Using incident awareness and assessment assets during an event is a primary concern, because there are such a large number of variables that apply to their use.

"We studied this carefully and determined we need to come up with a systematic, across the board process to present this option," Junk said. "We want to develop a concept of operations that clearly presents the capabilities of an IAA asset, no matter its source or whether it's manned or unmanned."

Other group tasks included reviewing the AFNORTH operational order and training requirements as well as examining the financial elements of the season.

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