Last year we posted twice about something a bit out of our local area … enormous wildfires in Israel. A post HERE about the use of a Boeing 747 converted for use as an air tanker and HERE about the international mobilization to offer assistance. Bill Post, a frequent reader and source of information about the Chicago Fire Department, found an article HERE that he thought would be an interesting followup to the December posts. It details a recent wildfire in Israel that was handled by the new squadron of air tankers which was purchased in response to the deadly Carmel fire last year.

The IAF’s new firefighting squadron carried out its first operational sortie successfully Tuesday. The squadron was called in to fight a blaze that broke out at Hamat Gader, near the Sea of Galilee.

The field conditions made it impossible for fire trucks to approach the site, and the firefighting effort was made solely from the air.
The planes were scrambled from Megiddo Airfield, where the unit’s commanders set up a command room near the Fire Brigade headquarters. A total of 15 sorties from Megiddo to the fire location were carried out. Eleven tons of fire retardant material were dropped on the blaze.
The squadron is named after Elad Riven, a young volunteer who perished while fighting the huge Carmel fire earlier this year. The IAF’s lack of firefighting planes made it impossible to effectively combat that blaze, and the result was a horrible national tragedy in which 44 people died.


A video of the air drops can be seen HERE.

In January, posted this article about the air tanker purchase;

Israel will buy six firefighting planes from Canada for a total price of about $200 million. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Canadian defense minister Peter Gordon MacKay on Monday and worked out the details of the purchase. MacKay is visiting Israel.

The squadron will be named the Elad Squadron, in honor of 16 year old fire brigade volunteer Elad Riven, who was the youngest victim of the Carmel fire tragedy.

At the memorial ceremony for Riven, Netanyahu told his grieving family: “We salute you and the wondrous son you raised. One cannot always say about a boy who was taken after 16 years that he leaves us a legacy, but we can say it in the case of Elad – a legacy of infinite devotion to nation and state, a legacy of purity of heart and of clear, simple heroism.”

“Elad went to the heavens as a hero, and from the heavens, the pilots of the Elad Squadron will fly in order to save lives as Elad did,” he added.


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