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Fire preparedness.

No winter, an idiot burning trash, a dry forest – Haifa has way too much light this Chanukah.

The news has become international that for the last 24 hours 5,000 acres of Haifa (Carmel) is drowning in the worst fire in Israel’s history. Israel is great at being prepared for terrorist threat, thorough in airport security, braced for most impact… But fires are not our thing. This is a place where buildings are made from stone and what forests we have we are lucky to have.

Which is why we definitely need help. Without a winter this year, with no rainfall, the forests are dry and the conditions are ripe for exactly what happened. And have you seen the aid roster? Britain, France, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Russia… Ok… Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. It must be 2010.

Meanwhile, back in Tzur Hadassah… where we’ve averaged a handful of mini forest fires per week for the past month. We get an email this morning from the Va’ad:

All firetrucks and fighters have been deployed to Haifa (all being all two for our forest-heavy area). Any male over the age of 18 who is able, should be prepared to join the team to put out a fire here if necessary. Wear appropriate clothing, bring wet rags, and blankets to put out the fire. This is the status until Sunday.

What is this, 1852?

Priorities are priorities, and perhaps firefighting is just not one in this country. But considering the drought we get, the precious status of forest, and the poor education of fire safety to the general public, who by the way, are either obsessed with igniting bonfires, barbecues, or their trash, I think it’s time Israel took a little responsibility and taught our citizens proper outdoor fire safety.