December 3, 2010 -- In cooperation with The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) has established the Carmel Fire-Israel Emergency Fund to help Israel battle the worst fire in the country's history.
Funds will be distributed via the Israeli Reform Movements' Humanitarian Fund. Forty people died and dozens more were injured as a huge brushfire raged across the Carmel Mountains near Haifa today. Among the casualties were students in the Israeli Prison Service's guard course who were being brought to the Damon Prison to aid in evacuating prisoners there. Twelve-thousand Israelis were evacuated from their homes and thousands of acres of forest and bush land have been destroyed.
Firefighters have run out of chemicals to extinguish the flames and helicopters are unable to operate at night to put out the fires with water from the Mediterranean Sea. Firefighting teams have been brought in from all over the country and help is also on the way from Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria. Friday's forecast calls for strong easterly winds that will make the firefighters' work more difficult.