The unusually hot, dry summer of 2010 proved to be particularly punishing for forests across the world. Countries including Canada, Russia and France suffered the loss of thousands of acres of woodland to raging fires.
It was no better in Israel. “The statistics say this was the fourth worst forest fire season in Israel since we started keeping track, at least in the last 100 years,” says 56-year-old Chanoch Tzoref of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a non-governmental organization known as Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL) in Hebrew.
“We had a very dry and hot winter, and afterward, the hottest summer on record. We are approaching 10,000 acres burned. That’s three times the average,” says Tzoref, who is supervisor of forest fire prevention, firefighting and replanting for 40,000 acres of trees in the Jerusalem Forest, Jerusalem mountains and coastal plain.