'Flames Spread on a Scale We've Never Seen'

Reports stream in from eyewitnesses to the massive fires raging in the north of the country.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Haifa mayor Yonah Yahav spoke of the massive fire in the Carmel Region on Thursday, saying that "the flames spread on a scale we've never seen." In an interview with Army Radio, he added that "all emergency forces are on the highest alert, and we have established a safe area for evacuees; I hope that we won't have to use it."

Hila from Tivon who works at Beir Oren related what had transpired. "We were informed that we must evacuate the area where groups of people had come for a day of recreation. We saw the fire approaching us, we evacuated the workers, waiters, and ourselves. As we left, we were told that a house at the edge of the village had already burned."

Fire in Carmel MountainsCredit: Yaron Kaminsky

Shai, who lives in Beit Oren, said that his daughter was enjoying herself at the stables. "They left of their own accord in the direction of Atlit." According to S., there was an argument between the police and firefighters over whether to evacuate the entire area, because they didn't know what direction the fire was moving in."

Shai added, "The firefighters asked for an evacuation, but the police gave an order not to evacuate. In my opinion, the police made a bad decision in handling the crisis, it seemed like a small deal at first."

Yael from Haifa, who takes care of one of the horses on the kibbutz, shuddered as she spoke of people that she knows that were still stuck in the kibbutz and were unable to leave.

Yael said, "A friend of mine that worked with the horses called me and told me that there's a large fire and that they might need to evacuate the horses. A few minutes later they decided to evacuate – too late, in my opinion.

Yael said that the workers tried to remove seventy horses towards the west, but the fire approached rapidly. "The people riding on horses escaped on horseback, and the others were left behind."

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