Arson Suspected After Two Large Fires Break Out in North

Around 2,000 dunams of land scorched as fires burn in the Golan Heights and the Galilee; arson being investigated in Golan fire.

Two large fires broke out on Saturday in the Galilee and the Golan Heights regions of northern Israel. There have not been any reports of human injuries, but vacationers were evacuated from the areas of the fires.

Fire services are investigating the possibility that the fire in the Golan was caused by arson after evidence of arson was found in the area.

Golan fire June 18, 2011 (Gil Eliyahu)
Gil Eliyahu

Around 2,000 dunams of vegetation and natural forest were burned in the fires.

More than a dozen firefighting teams from the Golan Heights and the northeastern Galilee were called to the scene of a large fire near Meshushim Creek and battled a blaze with the help of the IDF, the Parks Authority, and two firefighting airplanes.

Two landmines exploded during the fire and it was feared that the blaze would spread to a nearby IDF base. Firefighting forces, however, were successful in preventing that from happening.

Police officers evacuated vacationers at Meshushim Pool, fearing that the fire would spread. Police in the Golan Heights shut down traffic on Road 888 for several hours due to heavy smoke in the area.

Simultaneously, a second fire has broke out near Sheva Intersection in the central Galilee, near the road connecting Safed and Carmiel. Additional firefighting teams made their way to the fire in order to prevent it from spreading.

The new firefighting aircraft that Israel purchased in the wake of the massive blaze in the Carmel arrived last month. The new fleet includes seven Airtractor 802 planes which cost NIS 70 million.