KKL-JNF has taken upon itself the immense task of rehabilitation for the benefit of the people of Israel, in particular those who suffered direct damage to their homes. It will be many years before they see the beautiful green expanses to which they were accustomed. KKL-JNF is preparing for the long, complex process ahead, and will base itself on experience from the past, the decisions of the expert committees and specific research projects financed by KKL-JNF in order to gain the best possible understanding of the post-fire rehabilitation process in forests.
Rehabilitation activity focuses on the following fields:
1. Forest Rehabilitation
Three sections have been specified for rehabilitation and will undergo the following treatments:
- Removal of burnt trees that can endanger visitors and foresters. These trees tend to collapse, are potential fuel for future fires, as well as interfering with natural regeneration and planting activity.
- Monitoring as a basis for formulating management decisions regarding unburned trees in burnt areas, and actions to conserve soil while preventing erosion resulting from rain.
- Forest rehabilitation will be based on natural regeneration: after the wave of germination and growth in the first spring following the fire a comprehensive survey will be conducted to verify the scope of natural regeneration in burnt areas. At sites where no natural regeneration took place plans will be prepared according to the goals and objectives of the general rehabilitation plan. Further plantings will be carried out at sites intended for recreation and to enrich the native vegetation with broad-leaved species.
- A natural regeneration survey will be conducted as the basis for guidelines for forestry treatments to create a healthy, attractive forest suitable for recreation and with environmental considerations.
- Firebreaks are necessary to prevent spread of wildfires and save the forest flora and fauna. Existing firebreaks will be improved and new ones developed around communities, recreation areas and roads. Creating firebreaks requires intensive and repeated thinning of trees and shrubs and other forestry treatments.
- Intensifying grazing in the forest as a method for thinning and reducing vegetation that is potential fire fuel, particularly in firebreak areas.
- Installing water points and pipes at recreation areas for filling fire trucks.
As a result of the fire a need has arisen to develop the Carmel forests that border on the burned area and open them to the public. As part of this effort new trails and recreation areas will be developed, roads will be repaired and new buffer areas will be established. These will allow the public to enjoy the unburned forest sections safely, and observe how the ecosystem gradually returns to itself.
3. Firefighting System Upgrade
In order to enable early identification of wildfires and timely equipping of firefighting forces KKL-JNF must improve its firefighting system, which includes personal safety equipment such as helmets, fireproof shirts, masks and safety glasses, heatproof shoes and gloves, and also includes warning and extinguishing systems such as fire trucks, nozzles, a command vehicle including modern communications systems, firefighting kits attached to field vehicles, early warning systems, night vision equipment, field computers, beepers, digital cameras, portable fire extinguishers.