BEIT OREN, Israel (AFP) — A fine rain fell Monday morning on the forests of Mount Carmel, near the northern Israel city of Haifa, where a the country’s worst forest fire raged for four days, killing 42 people.

Around five millimetres of rain had already fallen on the area, dampening the ground, and another 10 millimetres were expected to fall during the day, meteorologists said.

The rain is some of the first the country has had this year, after a particularly dry summer and an unusually warm autumn. This November was the driest in nearly 50 years.

Firefighters were still on the scene, working to ensure that the blaze, which consumed thousands of acres of Israeli forest, did not reignite.

Government officials cited by the Israeli media on Monday said the fire had caused damage estimated at two billion shekels (400 million euro, 533 million dollars).

In addition to those costs, Israel now plans to buy several firefighting planes, after scathing domestic criticism at the Jewish state’s lack of aerial firefighting capacity.

Israel has just 1,500 firefighters and no firefighting planes, forcing it to rely on international assistance to put out the blaze.

The government has also announced plans to create a new body charged with overseeing the response to fires.

For the first time, the Israeli government has released emergency funding of 30 million euro to help residents who lost their homes in the fire.

“I don’t want delays or bureaucracy. I want all the people who were evacuated to be able to return to their lives as soon as possible,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Haifa police chief 42nd fire death

Haifa’s police chief, Ahuva Tomer, died in hospital of her burn injuries, public radio reported Monday, marking the 42nd death resulting from the blaze.

Tomer, 52, one of Israel’s few female police chiefs, died in Rambam hospital in the Mediterranean city of Haifa where she worked, the radio reported, citing medical sources.

She suffered severe burns on Thursday, after being caught in the devastating blaze which raged through the Carmel forest south of Haifa for four days.

All but one of the deaths, not including the police chief, came on the first day. Thirty-seven of those killed worked for the prison service, three were police and the others a fireman and a 16-year-old firefighting volunteer.