Some sixty thousand people were evacuated from their homes in Haifa Thursday November 24 2016. as a wave of wildfires threatened the bay metropolis, bolstered by high winds and dry conditions that have contributed to a spate of blazes across the country this week.
Residents of a total of 11 neighborhoods in the city were told to leave their homes, as fires in at least five locations consumed homes and businesses. By late afternoon, more than 100 people in the Haifa area had been treated for fire-related injuries, mostly smoke inhalation.
National police chief Roni Alsheich said some of the fires were set by arsonists, “presumably with nationalist motives,” but most were not. He said some suspects were in custody. Top Arab MK Ayman Odeh called the arsonists “enemies of us all.”
Greece, Russia, Cyprus and Turkey were among the nations that sent firefighting planes and other equipment to help fight the fires.
“The fire is not under control; residents should quickly evacuate,” the Haifa fire chief said, as eyewitnesses described firefighters having little success in checking the onslaught of the flames.