The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv advises U.S. citizens to be aware of a major wildfire currently affecting the northern part of the country. At least 20 percent of the Carmel forest reportedly is affected as the fire continues to burn. Fire threatens Nir Etzion, on the southern slopes of Mount Carmel, and other communities in the vicinity.
In the greater area in and surrounding the fire, more than 17,000 people have been evacuated, including the campus of Haifa University. U.S. citizens in the Haifa vicinity are encouraged to check road conditions. North-south travel south of Haifa has been disrupted at times due to fire danger and the presence of emergency equipment and personnel.
Secretary Clinton said, "I offer my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the fires in northern Israel. The people of the United States know all too well the devastation caused by wildfires, and we are fully committed to assisting Israel during this tragedy."
U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham said, "The United States is working closely with Israel to provide all assistance possible to fight the fire, and prepare for long term recovery needs. The people of the United States stand with you. As President Obama said yesterday, 'That's what friends do for each other'."
Ambassador Cunningham continued, "USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is arranging the purchase and delivery of flame retardant chemicals. The U.S. European Command has made 20,000 liters of fire suppressant chemical available. The U.S. will provide fire mapping to help local Israeli responders get the most accurate picture of the extent and force of the fire.
"We are prepared to assist with further aircraft resources, in addition to the generous response of other nations, if these aircraft can arrive from the U. S. in time to be effective. We have been in touch with the U.S. Forest Service and Jewish National Fund to develop an early assessment of the economic costs of the blaze and to determine what long term assistance may be needed."
If you are a U.S. citizen in need of assistance in Israel, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Additional information about the wildfires in Israel is available on the embassy's website here.