3 days of wildfires saw Israel burn today

  • Fires HOME
After three days of runaway wildfires Israel and the West Bank were ablaze today as hundreds of people were evacuated as firefighters battle to take control of the blazes. Hot and dry wind is fanning the flames, which have reached the city of Haifa and forced the temporary closure of a major Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
by ANT KATZ | Nov 24, 2016

Internal Security Minister says half of the fires were "apparently arson" according to an Israeli media report but police said they had not determined whether any of the wildfires were started deliberately.

Fires1Four people have been arrested, they confirmed, in connection with an unrelated fire in the Jerusalem area.

MDA sent this picture just after 14:00 today

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Palestinian men were expected to appear in court today on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently, Reuters reported.

MDA (Magen David Adom), Israel’s national ambulance service and emergency response unit has been keeping JR Online abreast of events throughout the day. Here are some of their messages – and pictures and graphics were also supplied by MDA:

11:38: Due to the extent of the wild fire in Haifa and the preparation to evacuate residence, schools and medical facilities, MDA has deployed 2 MICUs and 13 ambulances on standby.                       

Fires14:23: Update: due to the multiple wild fires across Israel, all of MDA regions are placed at the highest level of alert. Twenty six members of MDA paramedics training course are reinforcing the MDA Carmel region. In Haifa 22 ambulances from neighbouring regions are evacuating elderly and sick people from medical facilities. Up to date, at the Haifa area MDA teams evacuated 36 people to the hospitals, most of them are in mild condition.

LEFT: This graphic indicating the hot-spots was issued by MDA this afternoon

15:26: *Update* Latest- MDA medics and paramedics have evacuated 56 people suffering from smoke inhalation, 1 in moderate condition and 55 lightly injured.                       

16:39: Latest: MDA teams have treated 60 people in Haifa who were lightly injured, one in moderate condition

16:52: Hundreds of MDA youth volunteers from Haifa arrived to Community Aid Centres and are treating residents who have been evacuated from their homes.

Although people were unable to move freely, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, said MDA

Haifa residents trapped

In the northern city of Haifa, which is Israel's third largest, some residents were reported to be trapped by the advancing flames.

"We evacuated three neighbourhoods and there are people who are stuck," fire department spokesman Kayed Daher told AFP. "The fire is still burning and the flames are approaching a gas station."

Story continues below picture…
Fires HOME

ABOVE: Flames 10m high were threatening several multi-storey tower blocks in one Haifa suburb, an AFP photographer at the scene reported.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav told Channel 2 TV there were indications that one of the fires started when "someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids" in an industrial zone.

Further south, Highway 443 - which links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, crossing through the West Bank - was closed to morning traffic today as another blaze reached the city of Modi'in.

Homes and cars were damaged, and 300 learners were evacuated from a school, in nearby Talmon settlement, police said.

Several countries - including Cyprus, Russia, Italy, Croatia and Greece - have sent help and equipment, including aircraft, to help tackle the blazes.

"Almost 50 per cent of the fires are apparently arson," Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of a far-right party, said on Twitter: "Only those to whom the country does not belong are capable of burning it."

Meanwhile, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with the majority of tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.

In 2010, 42 people died in a fire on Mount Carmel, just south of Haifa.


  1. 2 Hadley 28 Nov
    Has the SA Government came out with any official comments or proposed assistance, as they did in Canada?
  2. 1 Steve 01 Dec
    Don't hold your breath waiting for assistance from the ANC!!


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