Good Weather Brings Thousands of Israelis to the Fire-ravaged Carmel Forest

Some 10,000 people visit snow-covered Mount Hermon and other areas of the north during the weekend

The weekend brought thousands of visitors to the burned areas of the Carmel Forest, the storm-struck Tel Aviv Port and, in contrast, to snow-covered Mount Hermon and other areas of the north that saw a dusting of white and good rainfall.

Carmel fire (Nir Keidar)
(Nir Keidar)

Several trails on Mount Carmel are still closed to visitors, which did not stop the crowds from heading to the fire-ravaged forest over the weekend. Many took guided tours sponsored by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which explained the damage to the woodlands. Many visitors focused on Hai-Bar Carmel, the IPNA wild animal reserve near the University of Haifa.

IPNA teams have already begun clearing fire-damaged woods and trails. A number of picnic and rest areas had to be blocked off to prevent people from entering the forest, where falling trees are still a hazard.

Some 10,000 people headed to points further north on Friday and yesterday. The director of the Hermon ski site, Rachel Barel, said of the 5,500 people who visited yesterday: "We could have had even more people at the site. Apparently, people were worried about long lines and traffic on the access road."

At the Tel Aviv Port, where huge waves last week crashed over the breakwater and caused major damage to the businesses at the water line, all but three businesses had reopened.

Joining diners and shoppers at the port were many people who wanted to see the storm damage with their own eyes after seeing it on television and in the newspapers. However, there was not a great deal left to see; the port's management had repaired and cleared away most of the damage.