For the most part, wildfires throughout Israel were brought under control yesterday, on Sunday, 26 November. But rehabilitation of the country's natural reserve parks and infrastructures damaged by the flames is likely to continue for as much as 30 years, according to experts.
Scores of homes have been rendered uninhabitable by the disasters, especially in Haifa in northern Israel. But damage throughout the country is not limited to humans. In fact, whole swaths of natural sites such as forest and natural parks have been battered and burned by the merciless flames.
DRONE FOOTAGE OF FIRE DAMAGE IN ISRAEL. ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW.
The Jewish National Fund estimates that overall, 11,000 dunams (2,719 acres) of forests were incinerated by the fires by the time the 58 forest fire incidents had concluded. 7,500 dunams (1,853 acres) of the 11,000 were in the Jerusalem Hills alone.
Uri Naveh, head of the Nature and Parks Authority Jerusalem district , said that the fear of other fires erupting has not yet dissipated.
“It is not yet over. The wind on the Judean Hills is not the same as that in Tel Aviv. It is very strong on the mountains,” said Naveh. “The danger is not over and at the moment we expect that it could continue within the next 24 hours and could be even shorter than that.”
While all the points which had fallen prey to the unrelenting flames had been dealt with, Naveh said “we are in a situation where this kind of wind can kindle a fire in areas not yet spotted and quickly renew the fires because the wind situation is identical to that of the last few days.”
He added that Kfira nature park in the Jerusalem Hills was one of the areas which was entirely decimated by the fires.
“This is one of the important nature reserves in the Judean Hills. There are many animals there—deer, foxes, jackals and hyenas. The process of rehabilitating the reserve could continue for years or even decades,” he gloomily predicted. “Our experience in the Mount Carmel forest fires on 2010 enabled us to learn from the fires then, and therefore to deal a lot better with the process of rehabilitation after fires now.”
Even the pine trees which are still standing in the forests will not survive, Naveh explained. “They are essentially dead.”
Speaking to Ynet News, Naveh said that in the Jerusalem Hills the damage was extremely extensive and that while some of the foxes and hyenas and other animals managed to flee the fires, others were not so lucky. Snakes and turtles for example, did not survive.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by YNet News at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4885326,00.html