Wildfires engulfed the northern city of Haifa on Wednesday, November 24. (Ariel Schalit/AP) (Ariel Schalit/AP)
Fires Haifa


Forty veteran U.S. firefighters flew to Israel to help their counterparts battle the wildfires blazing in many locations throughout the country.

Ranging in age from 30 to 60, 40 American firefighters, members of the Emergency Volunteer Project – launched by Israel in 2009 to train and work together in urgent situations – arrived in Israel this week to help quell the fires across the country, the Jerusalem Post’s Daniel Eisenbud reported.

“The Emergency Volunteer Project (EVP) is a nonprofit organization that understands that however expert our emergency services are, they’re only so big, and in large-scale emergencies we need additional manpower. So the EVP has set out to train in advance American rescue personnel to specifically deploy to Israel, and know how to work here during emergencies,” EVP spokesman Eitan Charnoff told the Post on Sunday night at a downtown Jerusalem fire station, where the American volunteers were based.

The men, working in coordination with Fire Services, IDF Home Front Command and the Health and Public Security ministries, had trained with Israeli firefighters in the country twice, according to the Post.

Ben Arnold, 32, who has been a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department for 10 years and volunteered with EVP for six, described the Israeli team as “outstanding,” the Post reported. He flew a great distance to volunteer for the sake of “the brotherhood of the firefighters.”

“I’ve worked with these guys before, and consider them family, and if there is anything I can do to help Israel and my fellow firefighters, I am willing and love to do it,” he said.

“It’s not about politics, it’s not about religion – it’s about firefighting, brotherhood, and saving lives,” Rick Nessner, a veteran of the Dallas Fire Department and a member of EVP since 2010, told the Post, adding that the Israeli firefighters are “great” but understaffed.

By: United with Israel Staff