Israeli firefighters could bring a deadly wildfire sweeping through northern woodlands since last week under control Sunday, a fire service spokesman said.
The blaze has been tearing through the Carmel forest near Israel's third-largest city, Haifa, since Thursday. It has caught the country — which prides itself on its technological prowess, ability to improvise and rescue expertise — woefully unprepared.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appealed to the international
community for help, and countries in the immediate region and as far
afield as Russia and the US have dispatched planes, firefighters and
materials to help battle the blaze. Palestinian fire trucks mobilized
for the effort passed through Israel's West Bank separation barrier on
Sunday and Israel Radio reported that Australia would also send an
aerial firefighting team and firefighting chemicals. The US sent a "Super Tanker,"
flame-retardant Boeing 747 plane that is able to drop 80,000 liters of water.
The government held its weekly meeting in the North
in support of the fire's victims. Netanyahu said that there is no shame
in requesting international help to fight the blaze, because "this is
an entirely different kind of war. We are not dealing with regular
fires," the prime minister said. "Therefore, we must utilize various
measures here which are different from those that are normally used."