NEWS

Israeli Firefighters Touch Down in California to Help Battle Blazes

September 2, 2020

by: Ilse Strauss

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Israeli firefighters arrived in California yesterday to assist with fighting wildfires.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020 | A team of 10 Israeli firefighters touched down in San Francisco early Sunday morning, ready to join their American colleagues fighting the devastating wave of wildfires raging across California. 

The delegation, including officers and firefighters from Israel’s Fire and Rescue Authority as well as rescue and forest fire experts, marks the first time Israelis have been deployed to battle blazes on US soil, the Jewish News of Northern California reported.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg welcomed the Israelis via Twitter: “As a Jewish mayor, I’m particularly proud and happy to see them come to our aid,” he wrote.

Hours after landing, the team from Israel was in position alongside more than 16,000 US firefighters seeking to bring the spate of wildfires sparked by a lightning siege on August 15 under control. The nearly 14,000 lightning strikes ignited more than 900 fires—some building to the second- and third-worst on record—killing five people, burning up over 1.48 million acres, forcing more than 100,000 Californians from their homes and plunging California into a state of emergency. After more than two weeks of toil, firefighters have managed to make progress, but as of yesterday morning, 19 major fires continued to tear through California.      

According to Itzik Oz, leader of the group, the Israelis jumped at the chance to join the US aid mission. “I think most of the firefighters in Israel [volunteered],” he shared. “We are ready to do everything. Whatever [the US firefighters] need, we’ll do it.”     

Itai Bardov, a representative of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said the plan, logistics and details to send the mission on its way came together in 48 hours. “Everyone just engaged together and worked together. This was really, really quick.”

The 48-hour turnaround time is even more impressive when considering that the Israelis came prepared, carrying their own gear and provisions, including breathing apparatuses, portable radios and even food.

The Israeli delegation will remain in California for two weeks and then head home, where they will enter the mandatory two-week coronavirus quarantine period.

This is just another way in which tiny Israel continues to bless the nations of the earth in partial fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Posted on September 2, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 2, 2020)

Photo Credit: Cal OES/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com