search

Wildfire near northern town brought under control after 100 homes evacuated

Businesses, car damaged by flames in Ma’alot-Tarshiha; Saturday sees over 200 blazes across country amid dry weather

  • A man inspects the damage after a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    A man inspects the damage after a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • Plane dumps fire-fighting materials on a blaze near Ma'alot-Tarshiha, November 14, 2021 (Fire and Rescue Services)
    Plane dumps fire-fighting materials on a blaze near Ma'alot-Tarshiha, November 14, 2021 (Fire and Rescue Services)
  • Firefighter works to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    Firefighter works to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • A burnt tree in Ma'alot-Tarshiha on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    A burnt tree in Ma'alot-Tarshiha on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • A burnt-out car after a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    A burnt-out car after a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • Firefighter works to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    Firefighter works to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
  • Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)
    Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Around 100 homes were evacuated from Ma’alot-Tarshiha on Sunday morning as flames from a wildfire began to encroach on the northern town.

Fire and Rescue Services said teams arrived from across the country to help battle the blaze from the ground and the air.

After around three hours, the fire was brought under control.

The fire began in the nearby Hacienda Forest and damaged a number of businesses and a car in the town, police said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Israel saw a rash of wildfires nationwide on Saturday amid hot, dry and dusty conditions.

The danger was exacerbated by strong easterly winds that fanned the flames. Those weather conditions were still present on Sunday morning.

A burnt-out car after a fire in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, northern Israel, on November 14, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes on Saturday, the spokesperson for the Israel Fire and Rescue Services said.

In total, 212 blazes broke out in open fields amid the extreme weather conditions between 12 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, according to an official tally.

Firefighting planes carried out around 100 sorties and disbursed some 34,500 liters of material to extinguish the blazes.

Authorities believe at least two massive wildfires on Saturday were started intentionally, according to the results of an initial investigation conducted by fire officials. There was no evidence publicly presented to back up the claim and authorities had warned in advance of the weekend that hot and dry weather combined with the winds would present perfect conditions for fires.

Israeli firefighters try to extinguish a fire which broke out in the northern village of Gita, November 13, 2021 (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

The suspicious fires broke out near Gita in northern Israel and near Zeitan in central Israel, adjacent to Ben Gurion International Airport. Some residents of both communities were temporarily evacuated during the day, and six homes in Gita were damaged by flames.

Numerous national parks were closed to hikers over the weekend amid fears of large wildfires and a number of beaches at the Sea of Galilee were shut due to the high winds.

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire near Hadera, November 13, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)

The closures came as the country was gripped with unseasonably warm weather and little rainfall. A dense sandstorm blanketed parts of the country on Saturday afternoon, reducing visibility.

A nationwide fire ban, instituted earlier this week, remains in effect until November 30.

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire near Yarka, November 13, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)

Some of Israel’s most devastating fires have come in November and December, including the December 2010 Carmel Fire, which claimed 44 lives, and a nationwide outbreak of fires in late November 2016, which left thousands homeless.

Israel is still recovering from an August wildfire, the country’s largest ever, near Jerusalem that consumed some 25,000 dunams (6,200 acres) of forest. At the time, Israel had been sweltering under yet another heatwave with low humidity, providing ideal conditions for the flames to spread.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed