A team of 10 Israeli firefighters will be deployed to Napa and Sonoma counties Tuesday to help assist Cal Fire in battling the LNU Lightning Complex fire, according to Shlomi Kofman, Israel’s S.F.-based consul general.
The Israeli firefighters, who landed at San Francisco International Airport early on Aug. 30, have met with multiple federal and state officials over the last 24 hours since their arrival.
On Monday they traveled to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento, where they each were asked about their firefighting specialties. Gov. Gavin Newsom attended the briefing, along with FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor and Cal Fire director Chief Thom Porter.
After the meeting, the firefighters returned to their Sacramento hotel to meet with some of their Cal Fire colleagues and make equipment checks for Tuesday’s deployment.
The LNU Lightning Complex fire, the third largest in California history, has destroyed 375,209 acres and was 63 percent contained as of Monday afternoon, according to the OES.
Hours after landing at SFO early Sunday morning, the team made its way to Sacramento where Mayor Darrell Steinberg greeted them.
“As a Jewish mayor, I’m particularly proud and happy to see them come to our aid,” the mayor tweeted.
Today we welcomed a delegation of firefighters from Israel who arrived yesterday. Tomorrow they will report to the CA Office of Emergency Services and be dispatched to fires around the state. As a Jewish mayor, I’m particularly proud and happy to see them come to our aid. pic.twitter.com/0xpAHrgkCY
— @mayor_Steinberg (@Mayor_Steinberg) August 30, 2020
That same day, the firefighters stopped at Solomon’s Delicatessen in Sacramento for some shakshuka, sabich and khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) on the deli patio.
“We were so very honored to host this very special group,” said Jami Goldstene, co-founder of Solomon’s. She said other customers gave the Israelis a standing ovation.
It is the first time that Israeli firefighters have traveled to the U.S. to help assist in firefighting efforts, according to Kofman. The team will stay in the U.S. for two weeks and then return to Israel, where they will have to quarantine for two weeks in accordance with public health protocols.