Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israel Brush Fire Kills 40, Still Burns

At least 40 people have been killed in a massive brush fire in northern Israel.

The fire, which broke out Thursday morning in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa, has destroyed thousands of acres of natural forest. Winds and dry conditions helped to send the fire out of control.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the area, including 500 inmates of the Damon Prison. A bus carrying about 50 prison guard cadets flipped over during the evacuation and was engulfed in flames. Dozens of passengers were killed and wounded, according to reports. At least three people are missing.

Several kibbutzim and villages, including Nir Etzion, Ein Hod, Ein Hid and Beit Oren and the Druze village of Isfiyeh, as well as the Carmel Forest Hotel, were evacuated Thursday afternoon. Haifa University also has been evacuated.

The Israeli army was mobilized to assist in fighting the fire.

Greece and Cyprus have agreed to send helicopters to help control the blaze, according to reports. Israel has turned as well to Italy, Germany and Russia for help.

The fire may have started in an illegal dumping ground, according to reports, though the Israeli Environmental Protection Agency has disputed the claim.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said about the fire, “We have known difficult moments and, naturally, we will need to learn very many lessons in order to deal with disasters of this kind, but right now all of our efforts are directed to saving lives and also watching over the lives of the forces dealing with the disaster. I think that they are acting in an exemplary fashion, as President Shimon Peres has said, with courage, dedication and responsibility.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.