As many as 10,000 dunams of forest cover were lost Thursday as a major fire burned throughout the day on one of Israel’s best known sites – Mount Tavor, located in the lower Galilee. The fire began under as-yet unknown circumstances on Thursday morning, and was declared under control only at about 1:00 a.m. Friday.
That was after all-day efforts by dozens of firefighters from Teveria and Afula to bring the fire under control. Using airborne firefighting planes, workers were able to prevent the flames from reaching the homes of the Arab village of Umm al-Jina, although members of a church on the mountain were evacuated at one point.
On Friday, firefighting crews were still working to douse small fires that were still burning, hoping to get them all before one of them spreads.
Mount Tavor is a popular tourist site, known for hiking trails, and it also has historical significance in Judaism and other religions. The Jewish National Fund said that after a police investigation to determine the cause of the fire, it will begin the process of replanting the mountain, preferring trees that are hardier in the face of fire.