Post-fire rehabilitation could take 30 years
Experts predict that the extent of damage caused to natural resorts and forests by the fires could require up to 30 years before a full recovery is achieved; while some wildlife managed to survive the flames, others such as snakes and turtles were not so lucky.
While hundreds of apartments have been rendered uninhabitable in the aftermath of the disasters, particularly in Haifa, the damage is not restricted to humans. Indeed, natural sites such as forest and natural parks have been battered and burned by the merciless flames.
The Jewish National Fund estimates that overall, 11,000 dunams of forests were incinerated by the fires by the time the 58 forest fire incidents had concluded. 7,500 dunams of the 11,000 were in the Jerusalem Hills alone.
Uri Naveh, head of the Nature and Parks Authority Jerusalem district , said that the fear of other fires erupting has not yet fully dissipated. “It is not yet over. The wind on the Judean Hills is not the same as that in Tel Aviv. It is very strong on the mountains,” said Naveh. “The danger is not over and at the moment we expect that it could continue within the next 24 hours and could be even shorter than that.”
While all the points which had fallen prey to the unrelenting flames had been dealt with, Naveh said “we are in a situation where this kind of wind can kindle a fire in areas not yet spotted and quickly renew the fires because the wind situation is identical to that of the last few days.”
He added that Cafira nature park in the Jerusalem Hills was one of the areas which was entirely decimated by the fires. “This is one of the important nature reserves in the Judean Hills. There are many animals there—deer, foxes, jackals and hyenas. The process of rehabilitating the reserve could continue for years or even decades,” he gloomily predicted. “Our experience in the Mount Carmel forest fires on 2010 enabled us to learn from the fires then, and therefore to deal a lot better with the process of rehabilitation after fires now.”
Even the pine trees which are still standing in the forests will not survive, Naveh explained. “They are essentially dead.”
Speaking to Ynet, Naveh said that in the Jerusalem Hills the damage was extremely extensive and that while some of the foxes and hyenas and other animals managed to flee the fires, others were not so lucky. Snakes and turtles for example, did not survive.