Nevada Air National Guard Receives New Firefighting Mission - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Nevada Air National Guard Receives New Firefighting Mission

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"We've been actively trying to seek this mission for a little over 8 years now," said Col. Karl Stark, the commander of the 152nd Airlift Wing.

The High Rollers of the Nevada Air National Guard are finally getting ready to equip their C-130 aircraft to help fight wildfires with the U.S Forest Service's Modular Airborne Firefighting System.

"We believe we're a unit that is absolutely capable to fly it," said Stark.

They are one of only four Air Guard bases in the country given the capability to use this system that can discharge up to 3,000 gallons or 28,000 pounds of retardant or water in less than five seconds.

Nevada's High Rollers were selected because of their extensive experience flying through mountainous terrain and because of how prone to massive wildfires the region is.

"We live in a fire belt maybe we're right there in it."

C-130s are commonly used to haul service members and cargo overseas and are already equipped to help fight fires. Rollers on the floor of the aircraft will be used to get the equipment on board.

"It's a roll on, roll off configuration. So we're not doing any permanent modifications to the aircraft," said Master Sargent Cameron Pieters, Flight Engineer for the 152nd Airlift Wing. "It actually is gonna come out and go out that door there so all of the retardant and slurry goes out that side of the aircraft."

This mission won't be easy. They are preparing for new and treacherous experiences.

"When flying over a fire at 100 feet with tree stumps exploding its a pretty dangerous mission. I'm curious and excited and a little bit nervous to find out what that is all about," said MSgt. Pieters. 

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