Friday, May 28, 2010

Update on Gamla Fire

The fire noted here yesterday was 25 separate fires according to one article, and it scorched an estimated 17,000 acres in the Golan Heights.

Haaretz’s report includes a series of photos showing the damage.  The Jerusalem Post also has an updated article with a photo showing the fire next to the ruins.

The damage to the ancient site was severe, according to this Haaretz article:

“The entire reserve has been burned,” the reserve’s ecologist Yael Horesh said yesterday.


Authorities believe the blaze, which broke out at Gamla in the early hours yesterday morning, was started by an IDF tank, whose metal tracks gave off sparks when moving over rocks. Strong winds quickly fanned the fire, which in a few hours destroyed much of the park’s vegetation and threatened to destroy incubation cages where rare eagle chicks were being reared.


Ancient Gamla was gravely damaged, as were the reserve’s fauna and flora. Several raptors’ nests were also burned, including an eagle owl’s nest and an Egyptian vulture’s nest in which two chicks had hatched a few days ago. A brooding vulture couple abandoned its nest with eggs in it.

The Parks Authority plans to reopen the site within the next few days, Amitai said. He added that entrance fees would be waived in the hope of encouraging visitors and raising awareness of the need to repair the damage.

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