1,300 Firefighters Battled Over 1,000 Blazes Over Three Days

YERUSHALAYIM -
Firefighter planes work to put out a fire raging near Kibbutz Harel, on Friday. (Flash90)

As of early Sunday, all the fires that broke out beginning Wednesday night through Shabbos had been brought under control, Israeli firefighters said in a report on the extent of the fires and their damage. Over 1,300 firefighters participated in the battles against some 1,000 blazes that broke out in the 72-hour period between Wednesday night and Motzoei Shabbos. The firefighters were assisted by about 300 volunteers, as well.

Thirteen firefighters and volunteers were treated for smoke inhalation, but there were no physical injuries reported. About 8,000 dunams of forest area were lost, as were 50 homes – 40 in Mevo Modi’im and 10 in Kibbutz Harel. All 12 of Israel’s firefighting planes were on duty nearly around the clock, spraying water at the periphery of fires to prevent them from spreading. An additional five planes participated, provided by Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia and Italy.

There was one death in the fires that swept the country – that of three-year-old Elazar Prizat, z”l, who died after being evacuated from his family’s home in Tzfas. The cause of that fire is being investigated. Magen David Adom treated several dozen people for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters said that the situation could have been worse; most Israelis respected orders not to light fires outdoors, which could have led to more fires. Firefighters also appealed to local and regional authorities to trim natural growth, which, due to the heavy rains Israel experienced this year, was greater than in most years.