Massive wildfires ignite Israel

Massive wildfires ignite Israel

Several wildfires broke out in Israel on November 22, 2016, causing widespread damage and prompting emergency evacuations. The police arrested 13 people, suspected of arson, on November 25.

The wildfires were reported in the Jerusalem and Haifa districts. A massive fire broke out in the Neve Shalom municipality on November 23 and has so far scorched 580 hectares (1 433 acres). The largest wildfire in the Haifa district was reported in the Zichron Yaakov municipality. The fires are fueled by the hot and dry weather conditions and strong easterly winds.

The smoke spreading from the Israel wildfires as observed by the Sentinel-3 satellite

The smoke spreading from the Israel wildfires as observed by the Sentinel-3 satellite. Image credit: Sentinel-3

The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) officials stated the forest fire risk for the affected areas is still extreme, as of November 25.

Numerous people have been injured and about 60 000 have been evacuated in the Haifa and Beit Meir while hundreds of homes suffered extensive damage in the Haifa and Jerusalem districts.

Video credit: euronews

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the country has labeled the wildfires as an act of terrorism after 13 people have been suspected of the arson usage and arrested by the Israeli police.

Several European countries have sent emergency aid to Israel. France has offered three fire-fighting planes, and Spain has sent four of them through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy have also sent the fire-fighting aircraft.

More strong winds and dry weather conditions are expected across the country over the next two days. The current wildfires are the largest observed since 2010.

Featured image credit: euronews

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