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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Haifa fire 'criminal negligence' for now, but lots of arson nearby

Two teenage brothers from the Israeli-Arab village of Usfiyah have been arrested in connection with the massive fire in the Carmel forest north of Haifa that started on Thursday. For now, they have been charged with criminal negligence and not with arson.
The youths were arrested by officers belonging to a special investigation team assembled by the central unit of the Hof police sub-district.

“According to our initial findings, based on an analysis of findings on the ground, the fire was caused by negligence,” Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the Post. Reports that the teens were suspected of hurling burning waste products during a picnic could not be confirmed.

The investigation of the incident is in its early phases, and police have cautioned against drawing premature conclusions.
But there have been several piggyback attacks that are more clearly arson, mostly, but not entirely, in the Haifa area.
Meanwhile, police and firefighters had to contend with sporadic fires that erupted far from the main Carmel fire zone, leading investigators to conclude that arsonists were attempting to “hitch a ride” on the Carmel disaster.

On Friday, two men in their 30s from Daliat al- Carmel were arrested on suspicion of hurling flammable materials into the Carmel forest, after reportedly being spotted by a pilot from above. But the men were released without charge on Saturday. The arrests were condemned by Druse leaders as being symptomatic of a “blame game” they said was being directed against them.

On Friday, a fire broke out in Kiryat Bialik’s Tzur Shalom industrial zone, forcing the evacuation of a nearby factory. The flames were brought under control by firefighters within several hours. Police reported finding a bicycle and a bag containing a wig near the area, increasing suspicions that arson was involved.

A blaze that broke out in Tivon was also likely the result of arson, police said.

“There have been a number of arson attacks in the northern district,” Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said during an emergency press conference on Friday evening at Haifa University.

Additional suspicious fires erupting over the weekend were seen in the following areas: near the Galilee village of Adi, at Bet Shlomo Junction by Route 70 in the vicinity of Nazareth, and near Kfar Mashad.

A small fire erupted in Haifa’s Nave Yosef neighborhood on Friday afternoon. All the fires were out by midnight.

“We’ve been seeing these kinds of arson attacks for many years,” Fire Service official Boaz Arkia said.

A brush fire broke out in the Jerusalem Forest on Saturday around 1 p.m., Jerusalem District police reported. Firefighters and police responded to the blaze and had it under control within an hour, and the fire was completely put out by 4 p.m.

Police are treating the brushfire as arson after hikers nearby reported two suspects fleeing from the area where the fire started.

A police investigation is ongoing. The fire burned a total of 2.5 dunams of forest and open land, and there was never any danger of damage to homes or people in nearby Tsur Hadassah.
Fire is a constant threat in hot, dry weather here - it's a miracle we never had anything as bad as the Haifa fire until now. Fortunately, and not just because of fire prevention issues, it has cooled off today and rain is (God willing - it's really late for us to be without rain) expected tonight. That should also help the firefighters up north if it comes to pass.

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At 7:19 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

"Fire is a constant threat in hot, dry weather here - it's a miracle we never had anything as bad as the Haifa fire until now."

So, Carl, this looks like a good effort for international scouting... in the U.S., we have huge fires all over the West. The Scouts have been renovating (i.e., thinning) big swaths. If forests are allowed to build up for decades with no fires burning through (natures way of thinning), then they burn so darn hot that they kill the trees to the core and burn the seeds in the soil. If they have been allowed to do their job over the years, the fires will just clear out the underbrush and some lower limbs on the trees so that new growth can find air and space to start. Fires can do the cleaning job or strapping teenagers can do the cleaning job. Start on page 7 of this link, regarding just one (92,000 acres - I think I read the Carmel fire is around 15,000 acres) of the many fires we've had.


I wonder what the Tzofim has to say? Could be an interesting international teaming effort for the scouts...

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

same in the south of France during summertime......in areas inhabited by Allahists it´s burning quite often


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