Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saved by Google

NASA's satellite photo shows the smoke from the Carmel fires drifting out over the blue Mediterranean.
Thankfully, today, for the first time since Thursday we have more smoke than flame.
A year ago I took this photo of flame retardant being released over our neighborhood monastery when their forest caught fire.
It shows you what kind of firefighting equipment the great state of Israel has--small agricultural cropdusters doing double duty!
What's more, in normal times these Chem-Nir planes do not stand at the ready; it takes at least 2 1/2 hours to get them airborne.
If not for the generous sending of help from neighbor countries and from Europe and America, we would be in big trouble right now. See the impressive list of aircraft that has arrived in the last few days here.
This morning the world's largest firefighting aircraft landed at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The Evergreen Boeing Supertanker--see it being welcomed here!
I watched the live coverage of its first sortie at 11 o'clock and it was very scary.
A huge aircraft flying over hills and around high tension wires and dropping its load of 80 tons of water plus chemicals just 300 feet above the ground!
All the other 34 aircraft in action were kept clear of the path of the huge Boeing.
People in buildings in the area were told to shut the windows and turn on the airconditioners (IF they are not outward-facing) because this anti-fire material is dangerous to one's health.
And how did we come to know about the existence of the Evergreen Supertanker?
Someone in our aircraft industry remembered hearing about it once.
They Googled Evergreen, found the company in Arizona, called, got PM Netanyahu's OK to pay the gigantic rental fees, and the deal was sealed in 15 minutes.
I ask you, is this the way to run a country??
Does our safety depend on Google and the good will of foreign countries?


Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on if you want quick action. Google to get it. It is almost funny but too serious to be funny.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my blogging buddies...

Patty, and Abe Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» is happy to read that the fire may now be under control. He has been quite concerned about this, Dina.

jennyfreckles said...

I have been very sorry to hear about the fire. It's such a beautiful area as well as the concern for people's lives and livelihoods. I don't think most governments are prepared for those kinds of emergencies (we have a similar debate about the snow currently!)

Dina said...

Abe shalom. But why didn't anyone in our government or air force know about this aircraft without having to turn to Google to learn about it?!

Merry Christmas to you and Patty.

Louis, thanks for your concern and support, now and always.

Jenny, thank you. The difference is, that most countries' governments don't have to be prepared for the fires that were, and will be, caused by dozens of missiles exploding in woods and cities.

VP said...

Israel has to be prepared to so many dangers that it is humane to not foresee everything. It happens everywhere, quite often...
Let's hope that this unfortunate event may be useful for the future.

Petrea said...

Let's be thankful for the person who remembered the word "Evergreen" and knew to Google it, and for the government personnel who got the Prime Minister's quick OK. In years past, perhaps this information would have been in a file somewhere and not at our fingertips.

Your story reminds me of our Station Fire just over a year ago. So many aircraft overhead. 160,577 acres burned. We can already see green on them again, though it will be years before the trees are mature.

But lives lost are lives lost, and that is the grief.

richies said...

The satellite photo is amazing. I hope that the firefighters are getting the fires under control.

An Arkies Musings

Kay said...

I love it that the Palestinians are also helping in this time of great need. I hope Israel will now bolster their ability to fight fires. That satellite photo is incredible.

Ann said...

we watch on TV news your terrible fire. I hope everything is in control now.

Dina said...

VP, yes, let's hope this is a turning point.

Petrea, thanks. Your words are calm and collected and calming.

Richie, let's hope tomorrow is the end of the fire.

The firefighters from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank came over with their recently-donated firetrucks. They are newer and much better than our old ones.
Firefighters across the world are like one big brotherhood, they said on the news.

Ann, thanks. The fire is under control today but in this windy night there might be flare-ups.
But also, it might RAIN tonight! Yay, finally!

"All things French" said...

Hi Dina ~ that top photo is amazing! I agree with some of the other comments that most regions of the world are unprepared for disasters of this magnitude. Here in Australia we had devastating bush-fires last year and had to employ aircraft from the USA.
It is very gratifying to hear that other countries have been so helpful.

Tina Liel said...

Finally they managed to put out the fire. What a tragedy........ The picture from Google Earth is amazing. And after all - Hag Sameach to you dear Dina♥

Ann said...

Since one particularly bad season when the US sent us Elvis we've been hiring these every year:

Good to see the fires are finally coming under control. I was surprised to read how underresourced your fire fighters are. Mind you it took a couple of really bad seasons for Aus to get properly organised.

MaryA said...

So relieved the fire is under control. Interesting to hear how the supertanker was acquired. When shopping for a necklace in Nachalat Binyamin market, one of the vendors spoke of turning to Rabbi Google for information. I'm glad that in this case, the needed connections were made so quickly.

Cloudia said...

I'm just glad that the fire is under control. Every nation receives help at times of need and the Great State of Israel is entitled as any other.

Though your Sabra toughness and self-reliance does speak well!


spacedlaw said...

Glad to see that the fire is under control.

Nathalie said...

Dear Dina,
the NASA satellite view of the smoke is striking and positively scary. What dreadful news.