War igniting forest fires in northern Israel

Like America’s, Israel’s forests and grasslands are suffering an unusual number of fires this season. But the problem isn’t so much a heat wave as, um, rocket attacks. Since the mid-July start of the Israel-Lebanon conflict, an average of around 50 fires a day have ignited in the northern region of Israel. Though many are small and eventually burn themselves out, others — a blaze at a toothpaste factory, and some in densely packed neighborhoods — have taxed even the area’s recently beefed-up firefighting resources. Some 2,000 to 3,000 acres of forestland have burned so far, as well as about 6,000 unforested acres. Israeli bombs have also caused fires in Lebanon, not to mention a massive oil spill, so Lebanon’s environment is doing considerably worse overall — in case anyone’s keeping score. This is what’s known in international relations as a “lose-lose-lose” situation, though that probably underestimates the number of losers. Wake us when the Rapture comes.