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Deadly forest fire kills dozens in Israel

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

A section of forest burns during a wildfire, Dec. 2, 2010, in Beit Oren, Israel. A large forest fire in northern Israel has killed at least 40 people, many of whom died when an evacuation bus went up in flames.

Roy El / AFP - Getty Images

An Israeli plane drops fire retardant on the forest fire in the Carmel Forest, Dec. 2, 2010. The fire is so bad that Israel has called for international help to put out the blaze.

Avishag Shar-Yashuv / Reuters

The bodies of victims from a bus that was trapped in a forest fire that broke out in the Carmel Forest, are seen on the road near the northern Israeli city of Haifa on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports:

JERUSALEM — A bus burst into flames as it raced to an Israeli prison during a massive forest fire Thursday, killing dozens of prison guards participating in a rescue mission, officials said. It is one of Israel's worst natural disasters ever and has destroyed one of the country's few wooded areas.

Fire officials said the blaze, which torched some 1,600 acres (650 hectares), remained out of control after nightfall. A university, three prisons and a hospital were evacuated and at least one village was destroyed.