International

U.S. Sends Team To Israel To Help Fight Deadly Forest Fire

A firefighting plane flies over Israel.

A Greek firefighting plane sprays fire extinguishing material over the fire in Yemin Orde, northern Israel, on Friday. Sebastian Scheiner/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Sebastian Scheiner/AP

The United States is sending a three-person Forest Service team experienced in aerial firefighting to Israel to help that country with a wildfire that has killed at least 41 people and is described as the worst in its history.

The site ynetnews.com reports that officials in Israel plan a "major operation for Saturday using some 30 firefighting aircraft" to combat the fires that are raging in the country's north.

The U.S. is sending 45 metric tons of fire retardant and 12,000 liters of foam to help combat the blaze both on the ground and in the sky.

An American official said that the U.S. is also attempting to provide aircraft to Israel for the fight.

In addition to material support, President Obama offered condolences for the loss of life to IsraeliPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call to discuss the deadly fires.

Help from european nations has already arrived in Israel, with Haaretz.com reporting that aerial operations would be halted over night:

As darkness fell, the operations of foreign firefighting aircraft from Europe were called off until the morning. During the night, only firefighters on the ground will be battling to stop the spread of the blaze, but there is not much of an expectation that they will be able to control it.

Firefighting authorities are putting their hopes on a Russian aircraft that landed in Israel on Friday evening and will go into action on Saturday. The plane is capable of holding up to 42,000 liters of water.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.