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      Second Fire in 10 Days Hits Golan Cattle Farmers

      A week and a half after a large fire in Nahal Semek, 2,500 acres of grazing land go up in smoke in Nahal El Al.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 11/15/2010, 7:40 PM / Last Update: 11/15/2010, 7:52 PM

      Israel news photo

      Ten days after a large scale fire destroyed 2,500 acres of brush, stream-side vegetation and pasture in Nahal Semek, another large scale fire depleted a similar-sized area Monday in Nahal El Al, also in the Golan Heights.

      The fires are a blow to Golan cattle farmers. The director of the Organization of Cattle Growers for Meat, Chaim Yadin, estimated the fires' combined damage to the cattle branch at 35 million shekels.
       
      The problem is exacerbated by the parched year, and the rain that is late in coming. “The cattle farmers will have to feed the cattle served food, which is more expensive and whose prices are set to rise again from next month, because of the dryness and lack of rain,” Dayan explained.
       
      The Golan has some of Israel's best-quality grazing areas. More than 3,000 heads of cattle intended for meat are grazing in the southern part of the Golan Heights.  
       
      The cause of the blaze Monday is not yet known, but an initial report in Ynet said Arab metal thieves were believed to be involved. The blaze last week is believed to have been started by the carelessness of participants in a music festival.
       
      In the northern part of the Golan, a farmer identified cattle thieves who had come from the Beit Zarzir area, called the police and began chasing after them himself. His vehicle overturned in the course of the chase and he was moderately wounded. Two of the thieves were caught by police and the chase after the others continued into the evening.