By Fadi Eyadat
A huge brushfire was raging across the Carmel Mountains near Haifa on Thursday afternoon, resulting in the death of some 40 people and hurting dozens of others, among them prison guards and firemen.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from areas around the Carmel Forest with the help of a large force of rescue workers who were called to the scene to evacuate dozens of homes and close off traffic on neighboring roads.
Thousands of dunams of natural forest were burned down and power supply was cut off in the areas of Isfiyeh and Daliyat al-Karmel.
Prisons Service was also forced to evacuate some 500 security inmates from the Damon Prison and house them temporarily in nearby jails.
While trying to evacuate individuals from the Damon Prison, a bus with some 50 prison guards flipped over and got caught in the flames.
The villages of Isfiyeh and Beit Oron were evacuated in the early afternoon, as was the neighboring Carmel Forest Hotel and Carmel Farm, as easterly wind blew the flames across the mountain rage.
"This large fire has spread due to strong winds," Haifa District Police Deputy Superintendent Ahuva Mishne told Israel Radio. "The winds are blowing in the direction of the sea, so there is no real concern for the [nearby] villages."
The news is saying this is the biggest fire Israel ever experienced. I think its probably due to the fact 2010 was the driest year in Izzy since 1860 :(