Update on fires in Israel, December 6, 2010

Israel firefighters

Now that firefighters in Israel are controlling the fires, the three Type 1 hand crews from the United States will not be responding after all. The 41 BLM and 19 U.S. Forest Service firefighters had been scheduled to depart from Boise on a military aircraft at noon on Sunday, but they were put on standby at Boise early Sunday morning. Today, Monday, the order was cancelled.

FirefighterCloseCalls has information about an additional fatality during the fire in Israel:

It is with deep regret that we advise you that the Police Chief in Haifa (Israel) Ahuva Tomer, has died in the Line of Duty from her burn injuries after 4 day hospitalization. Tomer, who was the first ever woman police chief there, was gravely injured in the now under control Carmel forest fire, while driving along with that bus full of Prison Service cadets that burned and killed the cadets as well. She has been fighting for her life since, and doctors even reported a change for the better, but on this morning her condition became dire and she succumbed to her wounds. She oversaw a command of 500 police officers. As always, our sincere condolences.

As far as we know, none of  the MAFFS air tankers deployed from U.S. Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases made it to Israel, because the fires were mostly controlled before they arrived. Wildfire Today talked with Ann Skarban at the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs who told us that their two C-130 MAFFS 2-equipped air tankers departed from their base on Saturday. After they arrived at a scheduled crew rest and refueling stop at Lajes Field in the Azores (map) they were told to stand by there. They spent Sunday in the Azores, then were told Monday morning that their order for the fire had been cancelled and should return to Colorado.  Ms. Skarban was not sure, but thought the other four to six MAFFS C-130’s from bases in South Carolina, Wyoming, and California had similar fates.

We talked with Lt. Col. Rose Dunlap of the 145th Airlift Wing at Charlotte, SC who told us that they received an order for their two MAFFS air tankers. One never made it off the ground; the other departed but was cancelled soon after it took off.

The Christian Science Monitor has an article that compares the fire in Israel with some other large fires around the world.

Boston.com has a regular feature called The Big Picture, which frequently has outstanding photographs of emerging events. Now they have a great collection of 35 photos of the fires in Israel. Be advised, that one has a warning about graphic content, and if you click on it you’ll see bodies of people that were burned to death on the bus that became entrapped. Close to 40 people died in the bus incident.

The blame game gets into full swing in Israel.

Now Lebanon is the hot spot
As the fires in Israel are coming under control, in nearby Lebanon they have recently had 42 wildfires, with four of them being large. Here is an excerpt from an article at the Australian ABC News:

The blaze has claimed no lives, but six civil defence personnel have suffered minor injuries. Frightened villagers began to flee from their homes on Sunday (local time).

Lebanese army helicopters have tried to douse the flames from the air, while firefighters battled the blaze on the ground.

A civil defence official said the emergency services were fighting “numerous fires” fuelled by tinderbox conditions in different parts of the country.

“We need three times more capacity to face these fires,” interior minister Ziad Baroud told reporters.

According to the meteorological service, Lebanon has recorded just 51.2 millimetres of rain since September, compared with 214.8 millimetres in the same period last year.

Thanks Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Update on fires in Israel, December 6, 2010”

  1. The world always says they need all this help then the military has to jump through their (selves) to go and bail out everyone just to be told they are not needed. That is called poor planing because the U.S. is on the other side of the world. Then these Military Air Tankers are not even used in the States where they are from when wildfires occur. Ridiculous poor planing. Someone needs to get with the program.


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