The lives of hundreds of rare animals are threatened as flames spread towards the Hai-Bar nature reserve.
By Zafrir Rinat

The Hai-Bar nature reserve is again under threat from the wildfire that is blazing in the Carmel hills.

Earlier Friday, the nature reserve appeared to be safe after firefighters had contained the blaze in the area. But in recent hours, the fire has flared up again near the reserve and the lives of the hundreds of rare species of animals that reside there are in danger.

During the day, aircraft successfully prevented flames from spreading within the reserve but the planes cannot operate after nightfall leaving Nature and Parks Authority personnel and firefighters on the ground with the task of protecting the site from the fire.

So far, there have been no reports of animals being injured in the blaze.

Fire crews had embarked on a rescue operation to save the animals early on Friday.

In anticipation of the fire reaching the reserve, an Air Force officer had asked to fly a rescue plane or helicopter to the area. However, authorization for the mission was not granted, as the officer was told that the site was not “high priority” at the time.

However, aircraft were called to the reserve after flames spread towards the site.

Evacuation of the animals would have required complex preparations which were impossible.

Dr. Ronnie King, a veterinarian with the nature authority, explained that under conditions of extreme stress such as these, the animals would not be likely to flee.