Carmel Nature Reserve Doron Nissim
Deer at the nature reserve in the Carmel. Photo by Doron Nissim
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Firefighters have stopped the fire that had almost reached the Carmel wildlife reserve.

Fires have been ravaging the area since Thursday afternoon and had engulfed the wildlife reserve with smoke.

Nature and Parks Authority personnel had to abandon the site in fear for their lives. The area is home to hundreds of rare species of animals.

Fire crews had embarked on a rescue operation to save the animals early on Friday.

In anticipation of the fire reaching the reserve, an Air Force officer had asked to fly a rescue plane or helicopter to the area. However, authorization for the mission was not granted, as the officer was told that the site was not "high priority" at the time.

In practice, evacuation of the animals would have required complex preparations which were impossible.

Dr. Ronnie King, a veterinarian with the nature authority, explained that under conditions of extreme stress such as these, the animals would not be likely to flee.