The study examines the synoptic situations and weather conditions under which occurred Israel's largest forest fires between the years 1987-1995. Annual rainfall and maximum temperature were found to have a positive correlation with both the size of the burnt area and the frequency of fires. A negative correlation was found for the relative humidity at 12 UTC for the same parameters. The fire season in Israel starts in May and ends in November, the peak months being May, June and July. No large fires were observed during the rainy season, December-February, despite the relatively low precipitation characterizing the region. Atmospheric disturbances as well as quasi-stationary systems were found to be favorable for the development of forest fires in Israel: the North African ('Sharav') cyclone and the Red Sea trough, which are common during spring and autumn. These systems carry hot, dry air from the deserts and are responsible for 55% of the burnt area from major forest fires in Israel and up to 33% of the major forest fires. Sixty-five percent of the forest fires occurred during the summer all of them under the quasi-stationary system of the Persian Gulf trough. These fires did not spread as widely as those that occurred under the North African cyclone and the Red Sea trough systems. The role of weather in the propagation of fire is exemplified in the case study of the 'Sha'ar haGai' fire of July 1995 - the biggest forest fire in the history of Israel (1300 ha).
- Fire weather
- North African ('Sharav') cyclone
- Persian Gulf trough
- Red Sea trough