Thursday, December 02, 2010

Raging Fire in Northern Israel

Follow the Muqata Twitter Feed for updates as well.

Shavua Tov...

1:12 AM 2 Arab teens arrested in Dalyat Al-Carmel for shining green lasers at Police helicopters trying to locate arsonists. (source)

Channel 10: There are currently 20 fires burning throughout Israel

12:15 AM: Why was there a fire? Take your pick:

Arabs: The Fire is a Punishment from God for occupying land. (JPost)

Police: Some of the fires are most probably a result of arson by Arabs. (Haaretz)

CNN: Primary fire was due to negligence. (CNN)

R' Ovadia Yosef: The Fire is because of transgressing the Shabbat. (Ynet / translated)

12:09 AM (Sunday). Police report that a wave of new fires continue to be started by arsonists around Israel.

Super tanker to arrive at 1:15 AM

Nir Etzion holds out -- the community of Nir Etzion in the Carmel Forest area continues to hold out, as fire fighters are battling the fires around it. Not one home has been burned in Nir Etzion according to a resident's SMS message, sent at 9:31 PM, Saturday night. He reports that 38 residents and soldiers are standing guard over the community, taking care of the 1000 cows (and milking them) and helping fight the fire. (source)

11:57 PM Evergreen super taknker to arrive in the coming hours -- will start work immediately.

11:51 PM How does this fire affect me personally?

1. The father of a classmate of my son died in the fire.
2. My brother in law's - sister in law's house was destroyed by the fire.
3. A 16 year old volunteer firefighter died on Thursday afternoon. One of my son's also volunteers as a fire fighter.

Despite being far away, the fire has hit very close to home.

7:20 PM Saturday night. New fire started in Neve Ativ in Golan.

6:12 PM Saturday night.
40,000 dunams (9800 acres) and 4 million trees burned down.
All firefighting planes stopped for the night, as they can't fly low at night as well as because of the smoke.
Netanyahu orders the rental of Evergreen supertanker (modified 747 Jumbo. Holds 80,000 liters of water) - and it can fly at night, costs 180,000 USD / day to rent.

4:02 PM 2 arsonists caught trying to start a new fire. Police interrogating them to discover connection to earlier fires.

3:12 PM Satellite photo showing smoke trail from fire.

3:04 PM Police officially announce they suspect arson after bag, wig, and bicycle found near center of one fire.

2:51 PM (VERY UNCONFIRMED) Police chasing after 2 possible arsonist driving a black Toyota. No updates on this yet.

2:45 PM Fire fighting team come to help from... Jordan! 20 fire trucks arrive, and Jordanian FM announces that 1000 Jordanian firemen are available and on stand-by for Israel.

2:37 PM Listen to the silence on 531 AM. The shabbat emergency channel for residents up North.

Residents of Krayot (North Haifa) residents to keep windows and doors shut due to hazardous materials released into air.

More sign of arson being the cause as 3 more fires start in Kiryat Bialik industrial zone at around 11:00 AM.

1:09 PM The smoke from the Carmel Forest Fire can be seen on the Northern horizon from Petach Tikva (central Israel)

Police physically evict residents of Nir Etzion and Beit Oren who returned to their homes.

The Rabbi of Nir Etzion has evacuated all the Torah Scrolls from the synagogue.

Over 1000 cows in danger at the Nir Etzion dairy farm.

Five additional fires are now burning north of Haifa in the Krayot distritct. (Kiryat Bialik)

Highway 2 to Haifa from Tel Aviv is being opened sporadically.

Over 15,000 people have been evacuated so far from their homes.

Additional fire fighting chemicals arriving this evening from France.

As of 1:10 PM, Israel's national fire-fighting service states they do not have the massive Carmel fire under control

11:26 AM Estimates up to 30,000 dunams (7400 acres) destroyed.

11:20 AM Netanyahu announces that government will pay for rebuilding of homes destroyed by fire (how will it do that, when it couldn't handle the homes for 8000 residents expelled from Gaza?).

Reforestation of Carmel Forest will be a national priority project.

11:14 AM Police close Highway 2 after fire jumps over Highway 4 (closed since last night). Both are the main highways connecting Haifa to central Israel.

9:20 AM More pictures from the fire:

9:14 AM Not just equipment from other countries. 100 firefighters from Bulgaria arrive to help Israel.

9:12 AM Names of some fire victims releases.

1:47 AM
Jameel signing off for the night. Blogging will resume in the early AM. Foreign fire fighting planes to arrive starting at 2 AM.

Unconfirmed reports of 66 casualties.

Hoping for a better tomorrow.


1:37 AM Photo Roundup from today's Fire

Source: NYTimes

Source: MSNBC

Source: MSNBC

Source: Al-Jazeera

Source: ABC

1:18 AM Denya Neighborhood in Haifa under evacuation. All the blue points are streets being evacuated now.

View Areas Affected by Carmel Fire in a larger map

Another photo of the fire -- taken from Yitzhar, over 100 km away from the fire. (source)

1:09 AM Sorry for the delay; had a MDA first response call to a car accident on the road.

Israel Radio reports that the Denya neighborhood of Haifa is now being evacuated.

12:13 AM This is the way the fire looks, from just down the road from me -- from the community of Yitzhar (central Shomron)

Photo by Ishy Hazani. More here.

12:07 AM Do you live in Israel and want to help? National Hotline to help families displaced by the fire: 02-652-2222

12:03 AM Egypt offers firefighting support. 200 IDF HomeFront command reserve firefighters drafted under emergency draft rule 8. Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer in critical condition -- hurt during the fire earlier today.

11:45 PM Channel 2 reports that the fire simultaneously started this morning in 3 separate locations.

Strong winds are now driving the fire in the direction of Haifa.

Gilboa Region community of "Ein Harod" setting up tent city to house some of the families evacuated by the fire.

If you live in the Shomron area, you can volunteer to host families by calling the
Shomron Regional Council Emergency Volunteer Hotline
to provide housing assistance for displaced families: 1-700-700-106

11:34 PM This is the emergency broadcast I received on my EMT first responder radio when the first report arrived of the bus catching on fire tragedy today.

11:32 PM MK Ayoub Kara demands the death penalty for the terrorist-arsonists who started the fire.

11:31 PM Emergency Prayer and Tehillim services at the Kotel now, lead by Israeli Chief Rabbis and Rav Ovadya Yosef.

11:29 PM Israel Chemical Company announces it will offer 100% of its fire-fighting chemical stock located in Israel and France to help fight the fire, at no cost.

11:26 PM IDF sending combat cadets from the Paratrooper, Golani and Kvir Brigades to help with the evacuattion.

11:21 PM Updates: Over 12,000 people evacuated from their homes. Prison Services deny that 4 prisoners escaped. Foregin Minister Avigdor Leiberman announces that 12 countries are now sending firefighting planes and equipment...and that the Pentagon is checking if they have available equipment to send from the area.

11:18 PM MK Ayoub Kara (Likud) announces on Channel 10 TV that the fire was "an attack" and deliberately set. Developing story....

11:14 PM Channel 10 reports that four inmates escaped during the evacuation and are currently at large.

11:05 PM NASA Satellite photo from space.

Massive fire in Israel can be seen from space - NASA satellite photo
Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 21:37

A massive forest fire broke out near Haifa in Israel today and NASA took a image of it with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Agua satellite. The photo was taken at 12:10pm local time.

You can see a red line on the outside of the fire drawn by NASA. Strong winds fueled the fire.

40 People died thus far of the fire and the fire is now totally out of control (time of writing). The worst hit part is Carmel Mountain region, the IDF allocated all its resources to fight the fire.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

10:55 PM JNF reports over 10,000 dunams of forest have been destroyed by the fire.

10:51 PM 36 of the victims' bodies have so far been positively identified.

10:50 PM Teacher-Soldiers drafted to aid in evacuations.

10:46 PM Fire-fighting aid from Foreign counties:

5 firefighting planes from Greece
2 firefighting planes from Azerbaijan
1 firefighting helicopter from Cyprus
4 firefighting planes and necessary fire-retardant chemicals from France
2 firefighting planes and 3 firefighting helicopter from Croatia
2 firefighting helicopters from Turkey

(Channel 2 News)

10:42 PM Emergency Phone Numbers:

Rambam Hospital: 12-55-144
Carmel Hospital: 12-55-142
Bnei Zion Hospita: 12-55-145
Social-Security Welfare 24 hotline: 118
Emergency Hotline for Families of Prison Services Workers: 08-977-5701

Shomron Regional Council Emergency Volunteer Hotline
to provide housing assistance for displaced families: 1-700-700-106

10:40 PM Italy not able to send fire-fighting planes due to stormy weather.

10:38 PM New, additional fire location in the Segev Region near the community of Moreshet. (Channel 10)

Update: At 11:30 PM this evening, emergency prayers and tehillim will be recited at the Kotel, led by R' Ovadia Yosef and Israel's Chief Rabbis.

10:35 PM Channel 10 News: "Beit Oren (the first community affected by the fire) looks like a war zone." Some reports say that nearly the entire kibbutz has been destroyed.

10:34 PM
Carmel Hospital Completely Evacuated.

Foreign FireFighter Planes to arrive at 2 AM

10:26 PM
As of 10:20 PM, over 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the fire.

10:24 PM Google Israel puts link for emergency numbers for residents in the Carmel Fire region on the main Google Israel page.

10:19 PM "Chessed" Organizations are distributing food to the hundreds and hundreds of emergency rescue volunteers on the scene; IDF, Police, Fire Department, Magen David Adom, United Hatzala and ZAKA. They are being given drinks, food and sufganiyot (jelly donuts)

10:17 PM 15 additional victims bodies found -- were previously defined as "missing"

10:10 PM Areas affected so far by the fire:

View Areas Affected by Carmel Fire in a larger map

10:05 PM Turkey offers aid in fighting the fire. Firefighter seriously wounded in Tirat HaCarmel area.

10:03 PM The Haifa Municipality said that all Hanukkah events scheduled for the weekend were canceled in light of the tragedy.

Updates from local Israeli websites: ynetnews, JPost, Haaretz

9:58 PMA sense of national tragedy is enveloping the nation of Israel as the huge fire burns out of control, threatening more and more communities in the Carmel region.

Tirat HaCarmel, a city of 20,000 people is now being ordered to evacuate as well.

9:48 PM Prime Minister Netanyahu announces "we will declare a day of national mourning, but now we must fight the fire"

News Roundup:

The following additional communities are being evacuated due to the raging, spreading fire:

Tirat HaCarmel Psychiatric Hospital
Prison 6
Hafia University Student Dorms

Tehillim and prayer services commence in the Ponivitch Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and cars with loud speakers are going around Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, beseeching people to pray for the "burning land of Israel".

Communities around Israel are scrambling to provide housing and shelter for the families being evacuated from their homes in fire-ravaged area of the Carmel mountain range.

Heads of IDF, Police and Prime Minister at crisis management center near location of fire.

8:00 PM Definition of Irony: Greece to send firefighting planes to help Israel...on Chanuka.

40 confirmed dead. Magen David Adom reports that there are 67 Ambulances on the scene.

Community of GivatWolfson, people are trapped in their homes.

Channel 2 News reports that high winds are fanning the flames which is burning out of control.

Police announces that Police Commander Ahuva Tomer of Hafia has been critically wounded by the fire and is currently fighting for her life.

7:43 PM Channel 2 Israel TV announces that Israel's firefighters have exhasuted the national supply of fire-fighting chemicals, and the only resources available to fight the fire are water and firebreaks (pre-burned lines to prevent the fire from spreading.

The bodies of 22 prison services cadets have been identified so far.

7:35 PM Jameel here. Took hours to get home from Jerusalem as Highway 6 Northbound is a traffic lot, as firetrucks and emergency vehicles try to race northwards to try and contain the fire.

PM Netanyahu has requested fire fighting planes to help put out the fire from Russia,
Greece, Cyprus and Italy.

The IDF is about to evacuate Nir Etzion and 2 other communities due to the fire. Hafia University is on evacuation alert.

Magen David Adom emergency medical service has put central regions on high alert (myself included) as the fire at this time is completely out of control.

Estimates of killed range between 40 and 55 at this time.

All Firefighters in Israel have been put on emergency call up.

The primary areas of concern now are Nir Etzion, Highway 4, Osofiya, and what's left of Beit Oren.

6:00 PM 40 Prison Guards burned to death as bus overturns due to fire.

A massive fire has been raging out of control for hours since 11 AM this morning in Northern Israel in the Carmel region, near Kibbutz Beit Oren.

The Kibbutz has been evacuated, as has been the village of Osafiya and the the Damon prison.

Due to the smoke and fire, a buswhich was evacuating people from the prison overturned and there are unconfirmed reports of 11 fatalities and dozens of seriously wounded.

Magen David Adom, United Hatzala, Police, Fire Departments, and the IDF 669 airborne rescue unit are involved the emergency medical rescue operation.

More here and here.

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KACH 613 said...

Arutz 10 live feed.

Jenny said...

Jameel - are you not being called in? How far are emergency responders coming from?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jenny: I'm currently on Magen David Adom active standby. Our region is at alert "gimmel" -- the highest alert level...could be called to go at any second. In the meantime, I'm blogging...yet I might go to sleep now in case Im called up.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised this eventually happened. Only a matter of time before terrorists realized that destroying our land is just as effective as killing our people.

In north american countries, often they will bulldoze deadzones around a blaze to cut off its path... the terrain obviously isn't safe enough to bulldoze a line across to stop the blaze from advancing.... so why doesn't the idf carpet bombing around the fire to contain it?

Sure it'll look gross... but it sure is a lot better than having thousands more acres burned.

rivkayael said...

Davening for your safety and the safety of all those involved in the rescue effort. May the fire stop and you all be able to go home and celebrate Shabbat Chanukkah with your families and loved ones. Thank you for your work.

NormanF said...

The worst thing about this disaster is how unprepared Israel was to fight it.

If Israel doesn't have the supplies to fight a fire, how is it going to handle a future mega-terrorist attack - say from Hezbollah in Lebanon?

In Israel, lapses and deficiencies are usually known well in advance but nothing is done about them until a disaster happens.

Sad to say 40 people lost their lives in no small part due to the Israeli elite's incompetence and bungling.

Where was Israel's fire prevention and response strategy?

Anonymous said...

America, O, America where art thou????
They have super scooper fire fighting planes in Ca. and Co. I don't know what the logistics would be- fuel capacity,flying range,etc. But maybe 16-24 hours after taking off could be in Haifa.
When are our so called friends going to say something?.
American Jews! This is how they treat the Jewish people, with disregard.
My jewish brothers and sisters, make aliyah before you become part of the 80% in mitzryim, I mean in in Amer. It,s not easy but it can be done!
Please pray for rain.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for the Israeli people. One month ago I have been in Haifa.

I have read that helicopters were sent to Israel and do not understand why it should be too late to send one from Germany even though the German government is going to organize special extinguishing agent.

The first fund-raising has started in the German speaking part form the IKG in Austria. For the case someone from Germany or Austria or where ever wants to donate.

IKG-Spendenkonto - "Großbrand Israel"
IBAN: AT75 1200 0516 0705 1607
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde - Großbrand Israel

for questions:

All the best and good luck for you

Stefanie from Cologne

Anonymous said...

They also started a fund-raising due to the terrible fire:

Because of the tax deductibility it could be the better adress for Germans. I do not know if donations to Austrian organisations are aceppted by the German tax authorities.


Anonymous said...

Norman F- The prison guards died because their driver lost control of the bus, not because of "Israel's bungling"

but yes, Israel was- and remains- pathetically unprepared for anything. We've known this officially since 2006.

May All the heroes of the Irgun be blessed. said...

The Israeli govt (and their PR wing, the Israeli media) are now trying to cover up the terrorist origins of the initial fire, which was reported to have had 3 separate points of origin by Israeli Channel 2 early on. Now all of a sudden it's not arson but "negligence" Sounds like an orwellian term for TERRORISM for a govt TERRIFIED of pointing out to its citizenry what the enemy within is willing to do to them lest they wake up to the reality of what they need to do to this enemy within (of course, they also don't want to the public catching on to the "other" enemy within - THEM!)

Yehoshua said...

Thanks for keeping us all up-to-date.

If readers want to know how to help out, check out this post:

rhecht said...

Wow! Amazing footage!

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