Greece will send firefighting helicopters to Israel Thursday night, to help fight the fire in the Carmel Mountains, Channel 2 reported. Cyprus will send its only firefighting helicopter as well. There were unconfirmed reports that Egypt and Turkey also offered help.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it was earlier reported, has asked Russia, Italy, Greece and Cyprus to help Israel fight the fire. The request appears to reflect concern that the fire could spread further than it already has and may go on for days.
Israel's firefighting forces have no firefighting planes. According to reports in the press Thursday, there are only about a dozen privately owned firefighting planes in all of Israel, and they are all relatively small ones. Such planes are ineffective in combating a large-scale fire.
Israel is calling up large-scale forces, including military ones, to fight the deadly blaze. The IDF has provided numerous water tankers and provided ground troops that are assisting in the evacuation efforts.
Fire Services Spokesman Hezi Levy said that when darkness fell, all airborne firefighting activity ceased. This, he said, means that the fire continues to spread rapidly. By morning, Levy estimated, Israel will be out of fire-dousing chemicals.
Using his live broadcast interview on Channel 2, Levy called on all firefighters in Israel to report to their stations, from which they will be transported to the area of the fire. He said Israel has a total of 1500 firefighters, and all of them are being called up.
Various spokesmen said that a major factor hindering firefighting attempts is the complete absence of large fire-dousing planes in Israel.
The IDF also provided firefighting forces, Home Front Command crews and helicopters. Dozens of medical crews have been provided to assist the police and are under the effective command of the Israel Police's Northern District.
At least four D-9 bulldozers were provided by the military.