Thursday, December 2, 2010
45 dead as huge brushfire rages through Carmel Mountains
Netanyahu requests the help of European countries in putting out fire burning thousands of dunams in northern Israel; bus evacuating some 50 prison guards flips over, gets caught in the flames.
A huge brushfire was raging across the Carmel Mountains near Haifa on Thursday afternoon, resulting in the death of some 40 people and hurting dozens of others, among them prison guards and firemen.
Thousands of dunams of natural forest were burned down and hundreds of people were evacuated from areas around the Carmel Forest.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday requested the help of Greece, Italy, Russia, and Cyprus to send additional forces to aid in putting out the huge brushfire that was still raging through the Carmel Mountains in northern Israel.
Netanyahu spoke to the countries' leaders and urgently requested firefighting aircrafts from them.
Netanyahu on Thursday instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to send IDF forces to the Carmel region to aid in putting out the huge brushfire.
Netanyahu also instructed Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to send any available fire truck in Israel to the scene.
A large force of rescue workers were called to the scene to evacuate dozens of homes and close off traffic on neighboring roads, and the power supply was cut off in the areas of Isfiyeh and Daliyat al-Karmel.
Prisons Service was also forced to evacuate some 500 security inmates from the Damon Prison and house them temporarily in nearby jails.
While trying to evacuate individuals from the Damon Prison, a bus with some 50 prison guards flipped over and got caught in the flames.
The villages of Isfiyeh and Beit Oron were evacuated in the early afternoon, as was the neighboring Carmel Forest Hotel and Carmel Farm, as easterly wind blew the flames across the mountain rage.
"This large fire has spread due to strong winds," Haifa District Police Deputy Superintendent Ahuva Mishne told Israel Radio. "The winds are blowing in the direction of the sea, so there is no real concern for the [nearby] villages."