TUCSON, AZ -
Firefighters from southern Arizona deployed to Israel early Saturday morning to help manage more than 600 fires ravaging the country in the past 48 hours, officials said.
Half a dozen firefighters flew out of Tucson International Airport.
Mike McKendrick, Chairman Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, said that six local firefighters will help their Israeli counterparts at the request of the Israeli government.
Three firefighters from the Tucson-area were deployed Saturday including Mt Lemmon Fire Chief Randy Ogden. Ogden said that they are the first wave of around 40 firefighters from the United States who will make the trip.
The fires in Israel are attributed to a wave of pyro-terrorism, coupled with sustained high winds and no rain, McKendrick said. So far more than 85,000 people have been forced from their homes – and more than 700 buildings have been destroyed.