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Israel forest fireAs Israel suffers its worst-ever forest fire in the north, some lessons are to be learned.

The fire has so far overtaken 5,000 acres – a rather small area. Other countries routinely see wildfires hundred times as large. Israeli firefighters and Home Front Command proved unprepared for the emergency. Despite the frequent occurrence of fires in the north, they had no mobilization plans. Firefighters from across the country were not called to the site immediately, and equipment haven’t been brought.

Ditching is not being done even today. Is it too dangerous for bulldozers, of which the army has plenty? Bomb the forest, then, in order to create an empty area to stop the fire. Backfires were not started, either.

Despite years of drought, underbrush was not being cleared with controlled fires. This technique was adopted in the United States many years ago, but was lost on Israeli authorities.

The United States, as usual, was quick with pompous declarations of support, but even the ever-lazy Greeks sent their firefighting equipment faster.

The fire came close to Haifa, whose chemical factories and refineries present a greater threat than the Iranian nukes.

Wikileaks published US State Department documents which claim that Putin’s net worth is $40 billion, and that he left his office to evade prosecution. The documents rely on hearsay coming from the Russian opposition.

How can the diplomatic establishment lack reliable intelligence on such matters, and moreover, how can it  trust such obvious nonsense?

December 2010
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