Fire Department spokesman Yair Elkayam told Ynet, "Unfortunately this was a huge fire that caused a very big natural disaster, for animals as well as plants."
17,000 acres of plant, wildlife consumed (Photo: Gil Nehoshtan)
He said the area most affected by the blaze was the Gamla nature reserve, which also contains archaeological sites that may have also been damaged.
As in the cases of many recent fires in the Golan Heights, the blaze was caused by a military drill. GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot ordered the establishment of an investigative team, which has been ordered to submit its conclusions in the coming days.
The Golan Regional Council issued a statement saying that the fire "caused serious harm to the unique nature and animals in the Golan".
The statement noted that roughly a third of the region's land is dedicated to IDF firing and drilling ranges.
"In order to prevent the horrible occurrences seen in Gamla today the IDF must prepare to offerprofessional and immediate solutions to blazes," the statement said.
Eli Malka, who heads the council, demanded that the Northern Command establish a unit of firefighters to help the local fire department in the event of a blaze. In addition, he suggested that all units training in the Golan be equipped with fire extinguishers and receive instruction about proper behavior in such situations.