Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured damage from the Carmel fire at Kibbutz Beit Oren on Sunday.
"Great damage was caused here, it was a big disaster," Barak said.
The defense minister told reporters of a conversation he had "with some friends, that I know for 50 years [members of Kibbutz Beit Oren], from my time in the Paratroopers, and I understood that the fire destroyed many houses before fire crews even arrived."
During his visit, the defense minister promised that whatever damage isn't covered by insurance, the state will step in to cover.
Barak was scheduled to tour the heavily damaged Carmel town of Usfiya later in the morning.