Arson Suspected in String of Forest Fires in Western Galilee

Hundreds of dunam of natural forest, olive groves destroyed; 17 fire fighting teams, 6 planes involved in efforts to subdue flames.

A string of raging fires destroyed hundreds of dunam of natural forest and olive groves in the western Galilee on Thursday. The fire department suspects arson as the cause of some of these fires.

The fire fighting teams battling the blazes had the added obstacle of heavy winds which helped spread the fires over larger areas of land. In a number of cases, airplanes were utilized to combat the fire from above.

Fire fighters from cities as far from the area as Netanya were also summoned. A total of 17 fire fighting teams and six aircraft were ultimately involved in the efforts.

Meanwhile, about five dunam caught on fire in Haifa's industrial zone. Eastern winds spread the fire and authorities feared that it could reach the auto garage district in the area. Auto workers were evacuated from the site.

Haifa's fire department also suspects arson in this incident.