New Firefighting Squadron Defeats its First Blaze
IAF firefighting planes successfully put out a fire at Hamat Gader, in their first operational run.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/18/2011, 1:12 PM / Last Update: 5/18/2011, 2:15 PM
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.