The Aerial Firefighting Unit’s Air Tractor
Cyprus’s Firefighting Representitive: “Because of the proximity, in real-time we can respond quickly and assist Israel”
Firefighting Forces in Action
The cooperation between Israel and Cyprus in the firefighting field is ever increasing. In the past several months, Minister of Internal Security, Yitzhak Aharonovich, visited Cyprus and described the forming relationship. “After the Carmel fire, we realized that the best way to deal with fires like these is creating cooperation with experienced countries in the area”, said Minister Aharonovich last December. “I recently returned from Cyprus, and from their perspective they will assist us in the future with water-carrying helicopters. We are on our way to cooperating with additional countries”.
Chief Marcus Targkolis, Cyprus’s Firefighting Representitive, has now conducted the reciprocal visit at the IAF’s Aerial Firefighting Unit. Among other things, he witnessed a flight of two of the unit’s firefighting planes, Air Tractors. The planes practiced extinguishing a fire in an agricultural field near Beit-Shemesh, together with the city’s firefighting and rescue services.
“A few months ago, a mutual agreement was struck between Israel and Cyprus about cooperation in case of emergencies under fire, search and rescue”, said Representative of Firefighting and Rescue services, Yoram Levy. These days, the two sides are also discussing a joint exercise. “We want to conduct a training session with Israel’s firefighting and rescue forces, which may take place already next year”, revealed Chief Marcus Targkolis. “Cyprus’s aerial firefighting capabilities are some of the best in the world. We have two planes and nine helicopters at our service. Cyprus is also very close to Israel, a half-hour flight away, so come crunch-time we can respond quickly and assist with firefighting from the air”.