A massive fire is raging in northern Israel for a second day, with firefighters admitting that so far they have failed to contain the blaze. Every available firemen in the country has been called up to tackle the forest fire near the city of Haifa. Specially equipped firefighting aircraft from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK are also assisting, after Israel’s desperate plea for help.
At least 41 people have died in what is thought to be Israel’s largest blaze. Most of those killed in the blaze were prison guards traveling on a bus sent to help evacuate Damon prison. The bus was trapped in the inferno by a fallen tree in the Carmel mountains. More than 17,000 people, including prison inmates, have been evacuated from the area.
A firefighter jet passed by the huge fire
Firefighting planes and helicopters from a number of countries were on their way, while flame-retardant materials were being flown in from France, Israeli officials said on Friday. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he hoped the fire could be contained by Saturday.
One guys looking at the devastated ground from far
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the blaze as an “unprecedented disaster”. Israeli media have criticized the government’s lack of readiness. The fire broke out about midday (1000 GMT) on Thursday. It is believed to have started in an illegal landfill site, investigators said, although it was not clear if it was accidental or deliberate. Israel has been experiencing a period of drought, suffering its driest November in 60 years.
Firefighters at work
Smokey sky view from one resident at the area
Firefighter plane tried to put off the fire