This morning we woke to the strong smell of fire in the air. Wildfires have raged across Israel in the last few days and, this morning, there were fires nearby our home in Modi’in. I often walk to the train station for my commute to Ramat Gan. Fortunately, I had my camera with me this morning.
To say the scene was surreal is a bit of an understatement. The smoke was so thick in the air, it was all I could smell. We’re accustomed to dust storms (we are in a desert) but the combination of the dust, the smoke and strong winds made it that much worse.
At first it just looked as if the smoke had been brought in by the strong winds from nearby. There were reports that the highway to Jerusalem had been closed so I just assumed that the fires were still a way off and the wind carried this smoke across to Modi’in.
It was only really when I arrived at the train station that I realised that there were fires much closer. It turns out there were fires nearby. In fact they were on the outskirts of the city.
We also started seeing firefighter planes flying overhead, heading towards the fires. The fires weren’t close enough to see them dump their fire retardant on the flames (update: Maor Yerushlmi has a great video you should watch). Still, the sight of these planes circling and heading for the fires was a little disconcerting. It added to my worry that the fires could threaten the city itself.
The mayor of Modi’in, Haim Bibas, posted an update on Facebook to the effect that the fires nearby were relatively minor and were being brought under control. The wind was exacerbating the situation but he didn’t seem concerned that they would damage homes.
Here is more about the fires in Israel and Modi’in itself, courtesy of Rolene Marks:
It seems the threat has abated but it brought home the realisation of how much we rely on the dedicated firefighters who rushed out to protect us and how much they do for us.
כל הכבוד לכם!
Here is a tribute from our mayor to the emergency services teams who worked (and trained) so hard to keep the city safe: