Daily Israel Report

Israel Police Not Sure Arson Caused Galilee Fires

Israel Police warn Israelis not to jump to conclusions about what caused 38 fires to blaze through Galilee forests in a 48-hour period.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/23/2011, 1:04 PM

Firefighting plane
Firefighting plane
Air Tractor

Police are taking a cautious stance on the cause behind at least 38 fires that blazed through Galilee forests and fields over a 48-hour period this weekend.

Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld advised readers not to jump to conclusions, telling Arutz Sheva in a telephone interview, "It's a large number of fires in a short span of time, true -- but we're looking at a number of different possibilities."

Among them, he said, are the fact that campers were in the area, and carelessness combined with dry weather could easily be the cause of at least one, if not more of the fires.

Hundreds of acres of trees, one of Israel's most precious natural resources, were destroyed in the flames.

"It would still be incorrect to say it is 'almost definitely arson,' emphasized Rosenfeld. "This is an ongoing investigation."

Three residents in Kibbutz Yasur were slightly injured due to smoke inhalation. A journalist also was injured after accidentally inhaling the material sprayed by firefighting planes that were acquired following the tragic Mt. Carmel fire a year ago. All four were evacuated to the local hospital in Nahariya.

A blaze in Western Galilee destroyed part of the Kobi forest in August, and a wooded area north of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) earlier in the month.