Reno Is One Of Eight Candidates Eligible to Receive C-130J Aircraft for the Nevada Air National Guard’s Firefighting Mission
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) led Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Director of the Air National Guard requesting they select Reno as a location to receive C-130J aircraft, a newer and more capable plane which the Nevada Air National Guard can use to fight wildland fires. Reno is one of eight base locations currently under consideration, and one of only two bases under consideration that flies the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) mission. Upgrading their current C-130H fleet with newer, more capable C-130Js is a top priority for the Nevada National Guard because it would greatly improve their firefighting ability and flight safety, as MAFFS is the most dangerous mission for the C-130 aircraft.
“The decision to upgrade the Nevada Air National Guard’s C-130H fleet with C-130Js would have a substantial impact on their readiness and firefighting capabilities in Nevada, California, and throughout the western United States, a vast region plagued by devastating wildland fires,” wrote the Senators. “The [Nevada Air National Guard’s] 152nd Airlift Wing [in Reno] flies its legacy C-130s in some of the hottest temperatures, highest elevations, and in the most challenging mountainous environments of any C-130 unit.”
“As devastating wildland fires become more common occurrences in Nevada, California, and the western United States, it is critical to have increased capabilities for these firefighting missions,” the Senators continued, “In light of this, we believe basing determinations should be made based on location and the missions served in particular regions of the country. Ensuring that the Air National Guard is ready to assist and respond to these emergencies should be a priority as you consider where to base more capable aircraft.”
Senator Rosen has been a leader in the effort to bring C-130J aircraft to Reno and improve Nevada’s firefighting capacity and readiness. Last year, she introduced the bipartisan Modernizing Aerial Fire Fighting Support (MAFFS) for the National Guard Act that would require the U.S. Air Force to include the MAFFS mission as part of their basing criteria for providing C-130Js to better position Reno’s selection for these more capable aircraft. She has repeatedly pressed Air Force leaders for commitments to include the MAFFS mission as part of their basing criteria. In 2021, Senator Rosen helped deliver an historic pay raise and benefits funding for federal wildland firefighters through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Last month she helped pass the bipartisan Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act, out of Senate committee, which would help recruit and retain federal wildland firefighters in Nevada by making the pay raise she helped secure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law permanent.