August 29, 2023

Cortez Masto, Rosen, Feinstein, Padilla Advocate for Reno to Receive Upgraded Aircraft for Firefighting Efforts

Reno Is One Of Eight Candidates Eligible to Receive C-130J Aircraft for the Nevada Air National Guard’s Firefighting Mission

Las Vegas, Nev. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Director of the Air National Guard urging them to select Reno to receive C-130J aircraft, a newer and more capable plane which the Nevada Air National Guard can use to fight wildland fires.

“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.”

The Nevada National Guard in Reno is one of eight base locations currently under consideration for these aircraft, and one of two bases under consideration that uses the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) - a portable firefighting system that can be inserted into military C-130 aircraft to convert them to airtankers. MAFFS is one of most dangerous missions for C-130s to fly and upgrading Reno’s current C-130H fleet with newer, more capable C-130Js would greatly improve the Nevada National Guard’s firefighting ability and flight safety.

Senator Cortez Masto has repeatedly pressed the U.S. Air Force bring C-130J aircraft to Reno and has led efforts to combat the wildfire crisis in the West. She’s introduced comprehensive

legislation to prevent wildfires and is pushing for permanent pay raises for federal firefighters. She secured billions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support wildfire risk reduction and recently delivered federal resources for wildfires fuels reduction in Northern Nevada.