Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One year later, the Carmel is recovering

In early December 2010, the worst fire in Israel's history claimed the lives of 44 people, burned more than one third of the Carmel Forest - about five million pine, oak, cypress and pistachio trees and countless plants and creatures - and damaged thousands of homes. Firefighters from Israel and 18 countries finally put out the blaze, which displaced 17,000 people.

One year later, there are signs of life. Winter flowers are blooming in the charred areas, and new undergrowth is coloring the landscape green again as the trees slowly regenerate. The University of Haifa has given scholarships to 44 students in memory of each victim of the disaster, in return for a commitment to actively perpetuate his or her memory.

These small steps are significant. But the human and natural damage from the massive fire started by a couple of careless teens will be a long process.

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