Israel | Local

New delegation of local firefighters heading to Israel

An Israeli firefighter views a wildfire that broke out near Jerusalem, Nov. 25, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Six firefighters from Tucson will head to Israel next month to share their expertise in handling wildland fires. Since spring, incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza have burned thousands of acres of Israeli land. The trip is part of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation’s Firefighters Beyond Borders program.

The delegation will arrive in Israel Nov. 7. Updates will be posted on the Firefighters Beyond Borders Facebook page.

Kris Blume, battalion chief at Tucson Fire Department, will lead the delegation. Blume was a member of the first Firefighters Beyond Borders mission to Israel in 2013 and returned to Israel in November 2016 with four colleagues from Southern Arizona, joining firefighters from around the world to help their Israeli counterparts respond to a series of fires, about half of which were caused by arson, according to Israeli officials. In October 2015, the Fire Foundation brought four top ranking Israeli emergency responders to Southern Arizona, and it sent five firefighters to Israel in September 2016 as part of the Emergency Volunteer Project.

Blume has taken the lead on making the City of Tucson a more fire-adapted community and implementing a wildland and urban fire response model. The other delegates are:

E.A. “Ted” Geare III, assistant fire chief (ret.), Tucson Fire Department, who served with TFD for more than 32 years and is a founding trustee of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation;

Eliot Anderson, a TFD captain who has been in the fire service for over 24 years, started his career in wildland with the U.S. Forest Service in 1994;

K. Paul Maxwell, a TFD engineer who served on the U.S. Forest Service hotshot crew that fought the largest wildland fires in New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon state history;

Scott Peru, a firefighter with Northwest Fire District, who has been a firefighter for 17 years and is currently the district’s wildland coordinator; and

Steve Lunde, a captain with Golder Ranch Fire District, who has fought wildland fires in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and California, and is currently the district’s wildland team coordinator.

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