New wildfire suppression doctrine (Illustration)
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Members of the Israel Fire and Rescue Services news aerial firefighting squadron held their first successful exercise Thursday, in the Golan Heights.
The squadron was formed in the wake of December's Carmel fire, which raged for four days and nights, claimed 44 lives, forced the evacuation of nearly 17,000 people and consumed 8,650 acres of land and natural forest.
The aerial firefighting squadron includes five planes, purchased during and after the Carmel Fire. The drill saw firefighters combat two locations simultaneously, as well as test their collaboration with ground firefighting troops and the Fire and Rescue Services' national command and control center.
IDF and police forces, along with Magen David Adom emergency services, Jewish National Fund officers and Israel Nature and National Parks Service agents, also took part in the exercise.
Yair Elkayam, deputy-chief of the Upper Galilee-Golan firefighting services, told Ynet that "since the December disaster we have constructed a new wildfire suppression doctrine. This exercise was meant to test the collaboration between aerial and ground forces and communications with the national command center."
The new squadron, he added, "Significantly upgrades our ability to meet grievous scenarios like the one we faced at the Carmel."
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