Saturday, November 26, 2016

Terrifying Wildfires In Israel

People flee raging wildfires in Haifa, Israel.  
There are few things as terrifying as a wildfire rampaging through urban neighborhoods, and for the second time this year, we've seen just that disaster.  

Wildfires, many started by arsonists, tore through Haifa, Israel and surrounding areas this week. Some of the fires burned in trees and parks amid high rise buildings in the city, which is Israel's third largest.

Videos, which you can see at the bottom of this post, shows flames burning against tall buildings, people running for their lives as fires rapidly approach and aircraft buzzing buildings and dropping fire retardant on neighborhoods.

At least one high rise appears to catch fire in the videos.

The fires peaked on Thursday amid drought conditions and strong easterly winds, Reuters reported

According to Reuters:

"With fires burning in the forests west of Jerusalem, around Haifa, on central and northern hilltops and parts of the Israeli-occupied West Banks, the government sought assistance from neighboring countries to tackle the conflagration.

Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey and Russia offered help, with several aircraft already joining efforts to quell the blaze, dropping fire-retardant material to try to douse the heaviest fires and stem their spread."

Haifa was apocalyptic Thursday, with the city's mayor asking residents to turn on their water sprinklers to keep flames at bay before they fled to the relative safety of sports stadiums and other areas away from the fires.  
Wildfire burning in a Haifa, Israel neighborhoo

It hasn't rained in Israel for several months. By now, seasonal winter rains start to arrive in Israel but that hasn't happened yet. Dry, windy weather is expected to continue into early next week.

The dry weather is helping flames spread, but political unrest appears to be causing them.

"'Every fire that was caused by arson, or incitement to arson, is terrorism by all accounts. And we will treat it as such, ' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters gathered in Haifa. 'Whoever tries to burn parts of Israel will be punished severely,'" Reuters reported. 

On social media, some Arabs and Palestinians celebrated the fires, Reuters added.

The fires in Haifa recalled the fires around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada this past spring that forced the full evacuation of that city and destroyed parts of it. While the Canadian fire had no connection to terrorism, it was another example of the horrors of a fire crashing into a busy city.

Here are some videos of the Haifa fires:

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