The worst fire in Israel’s history did not happen because of the foresters’ negligence or casual regard of their responsibilities (“The Fire Next Time,” Editorial, Dec. 24).
According to researchers from Haifa University, part of the UNESCO bioreserve in the Carmel Mountains, there is nothing Israel could have done to prevent the Carmel fire from reaching the proportions that it did. The extent and intensity of a fire depends on the conditions of the forest: while a young and damp forest will not burn, a mature forest like the Carmel Forest that has accumulated many combustible materials will burn easily. Because there had been no rainfall for the past eight months, the Carmel Forest was extremely dry; coupled with strong winds, the fire escalated at an uncontrollable rate.
Furthermore, these foresters have devoted their entire lives to these forests and put themselves in grave danger trying to battle the flames. This loss, for
them, is immeasurable.
The writers are respectively president of the greater New York board and New York zone director for the Jewish National Fund.