An investigation revealed that a young hiker visiting the Nahal Samach nature preserve caused the fire.
Qatzrin fire chief, Lahav Yair Elyakim told Ynetnews, “In hiking club, they teach them not to leave garbage behind and that’s what he did.”
A cattle rancher living in the area was in the valley at the time and helped with fighting the fire. After evacuating the hikers, he interviewed one of the guides and learned that a boy had lit some sheets of used toilet paper.
An investigation by the authorities supported the finding.
Fighting the fire through the night
The fire in Nahal Samach was first reported Thursday afternoon, at which point hundreds of tourists in the area had to be evacuated.
“Even though the fire never reached the people, it was the right choice to evacuate them because the mouth of the valley would have filled with smoke,” Elyakim said.
The fire, which started off small, quickly got out of control, sweeping peaks and valleys. Only in the last few hours was it brought under control.