Israel has experienced its worst fire ever. The Carmel Fire is a wildfire that has burned more than 50,000 dunams so far outside of Haifa. Two Druze brothers from the town of Isfiya have been arrested for negligence in starting the fire. Not arson. Seems they started a fire and it got out of control. Easy to do when everything is dry as a bone since there has been little or no rain in Israel. Truly drought conditions. Houses exploding from the heat of the fire. 42 people have died from the flames. 41 were prison guards trapped in a burning bus.
More than 17,000 residents have been evacuated. Saturday nigh a U.S. Boeing Supertanker finally arrived in Israel. Fire fighting helicopters, equipment, fire fighters and chemical retardant have been arriving from all over including Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Spain.
The winds haven’t died down but gotten stronger. And winds whip a fire into a greater frenzy. Combine that with the dry grasslands and lots of fuel and it is a recipe for disaster. Israel was not prepared for any kind of blaze. The report said that Israel had no chemical retardant -at all. The fast moving fire has been burning since Thursday.
We in Southern California are all too familiar with these kinds of fires that rage on for days at a time. We know what it is like to breathe in acrid smoke, to evacuate, to hose down our roofs. We know what it is like when there is no rain and everything is ready to go up in flames.
From Malibu to the Station Fire in Altadena to those in Thousand Oaks; to the San Diego blazes or those in Northern California, the Oakland Fire of a number of years ago. We can relate to what the Israelis are experiencing.
They will need our help to replant and rebuild. Here is a link to one Emergency Fund through ARZA and the Progressive Jewish community. Or give to Magen David Adom – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross.
They will need our help.