Police Suspect Arson Behind Six Bushfires in North

Fire-fighters control flames that ravaged vast lands in northern Galilee and Golan Heights.

Six bushfires blazed throughout the Northern Galilee and the Golan Heights on Friday, as fire fighters struggled to quell the flames.

Fire in northern Israel
Yaron Kaminski

Following an initial investigation, police suspected that arson was behind most of the bushfires. Security forces scanned the vast areas in search of suspected arsonists.

Toward the evening fire fighters managed to control the blazes at all six fires, with the help of four fire extinguishing airplanes.

Two weeks ago a huge brushfire ravaged the Gamla nature reserve in the Golan Heights yesterday, burning thousands of dunams of shrubbery and endangering the lives of several eagle chicks.

"The entire reserve has been burned," the reserve's ecologist Yael Horesh said yesterday.

Israel Nature and Parks Authority director general, Eli Amitai, said the Gamla reserve could take years to recover from the damage.

Authorities believe the blaze, which broke out at Gamla in the early hours yesterday morning, was started by an IDF tank, whose metal tracks gave off sparks when moving over rocks. Strong winds quickly fanned the fire, which in a few hours destroyed much of the park's vegetation and threatened to destroy incubation cages where rare eagle chicks were being reared.