Over a thousand acres of woodland in central and northern Israel were destroyed in what firefighters called the worst day of wildfires since the Second Lebanon War.
An enormous fire between the moshavim of Tirosh and Sdot Micha, and kibbutz Beit Guvrin near Beit Shemesh consumed over 700 acres of natural woodland, causing damage to homes and yards in Sdot Micha. No casualties were reported.
Firefighters said that they suspect that the blazes were started deliberately. Meanwhile, despite the increasing number of forest fires, Israel continues to lack a supply of airborne fire retardant.
The chemical, which Israel imports from France, was ordered last week a day after Haaretz revealed that Israel's stock was completely depleted. While some 200 tons were purchased, it is not expected to arrive for a few more days because of the slow production process.
"The retardant ran out last week because of a large number of forest fires and lack of preparation," a senior aviation official told Haaretz. "We are seeing the results in the field right now, especially in the huge fire near Beit Shemesh.
The pilots working on the Beit Shemesh fire were only able to use water and foam, which did not prevent the flames from spreading," the official said.
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