For the first time, the new firefighting air force squadron was put to operational use yesterday after a fire broke out in a minefield in Tel Katzir, northern Israel. The squadron was called to extinguish the fire since the ground firefighting forces could not safely enter the minefield.
The squadron was inaugurated only a week ago (May 12th) and only in the past few weeks were the officers and squadron personnel appointed to their positions within the squadron.
Following the devastating fire that claimed the lives of 44 people and eradicated 750 acres of the Carmel Forest in northern Israel, a new Israeli Air Force (IAF) squadron especially designed to fight fires was formed. The squadron – named after Elad Riban, a 16 year old volunteer firefighter who was among the 44 people killed in the fire – consists of seven firefighting planes, each of which can hold up to three tons of water.
The planes are manufactured by Air Tractor AT-805. The integration of the IAF planes into the broader Israeli firefighting efforts are closely coordinated with the Israel Fire and Rescue Service, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, along with IDF personnel from the Operations Branch.
Read more about the Carmel Forest fire.