The end of summer is a tricky time in Israel. Everything is so dry that the smallest spark can set a forest on fire. This month, the continuing dry, hot weather caused a terrible wave of wildfires to sweep over the country. In total, there have been 360 fires, most of them in the north and east/centre of the country. The worst fire was in Haifa, where 75,000 people had to be evacuated and 527 homes were destroyed. Of course, talk of arson, politics and terrorism is rife, but it isn’t clear what exactly happened to start such a staggering number of fires. Arab towns were threatened just as much as Jewish ones. Thankfully, there were no casualties anywhere in the country.
I’m glad I can say none of the fires reached us. We sometimes smelled smoke on the wind and my husband took this photo on his way to work:
But that was it. For us. For those people Haifa and many other towns, for the forests and wild animals, this is disastrous. We have been wishing for rain for weeks, but no fire-extuingishing water fell from the sky.
The worst fire I can remember here was in 2010 on the Carmel mountain, which burned 12,000 acres of land and killed 44 people, who were trapped in a bus in the blazing forest. A terrifying mental image.
I am just so thankful that these fires didn’t claim any lives. But many wild animals must have died, which makes me sad. All those acres of forest, all burned. The National Park people have their work cut out.
Many countries sent help, including Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. The Palestinian Authorities sent four firefighting crews, which makes me tear up a little. Allow me to dwell for a while on this rare sign of solidarity. Maybe not all is lost over here.
Rain has finally been predicted for tomorrow, but the fire is already mostly under control now. Still, I am looking forward to it. I hope it’s a proper downpour. A torrential one. A real, old-fashioned, country-wide rainstorm.
If I had stayed in Holland, I wouldn’t have been worrying about fire and drought. But I would have been dealing with floods and freezing water instead. Everything is relative! 🙂
Hope you’re having a fire-less and flood-less day! 💚