Czech Republic Firefighters Donate Fire Truck to KKL-JNF .
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Following the devastating fires in Israel last November, Czech Republic firefighters wanted to contribute in some way to Israeli efforts to combat wild fires in the future. The firefighters donated an all-terrain fire truck to KKL-JNF.
This week, the specifications were finalized and agreed upon in meetings at the KKL-JNF headquarters in Jerusalem between officials from the Czech Republic and KKL-JNF.
Accompanied by Judith Perl-Strasser of KKL-JNF’s European Desk in Jersualem, the Czech Republic delegates visited Yatir Forest in the Negev, where KKL-JNF forester Abed Abu Al-Kean greeted them and gave them a briefing about the site.
He noted that the annual rain fall here normally reaches only 250 mm, and though last year they had surpassed that amount with 350 mm, the previous seven years had been very dry. This year, too, they barely reached 230 mm of rainfall, he said.
The Yatir forest was first conceptualized by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in the early 1960’s. By 1964, work had already begun to plant the first trees. The valleys were left for agriculture. Aleppo pines were planted on the rocky slopes and broadleaf trees in the valleys, said Abu Al-Kean.
Today, the forest consists of about 40,000 dunams of planted trees and agricultural lands for peach, nectarine, cherry, apricot and other fruit tree orchards, as well as grapevines. The forest has also become home to native animals such as deer, jackals and hyenas.
As part of their fire prevention protocol, KKL-JNF encourages local Bedouin shepherds to graze their registered and vaccinated flocks here, in order to thin out the forest undergrowth, said Abu Al-Kean, who is Bedouin himself.
After a brief demonstration of firefighting techniques used in the forest by fire fighter Rasem Abu Al-Kean, the guests made their way to the KKL-JNF Czech Forest to plant carob trees.
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