Chacham Ovadia Yosef said during his weekly Motzoei Shabbos drasha that the devastating Carmel fire was a result of insufficient Shabbat observance in the area.
“Fires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated,” he quoted from the Gemara in Maseches Shabbos in his drasha. “Homes were ruined,” he continued, “entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providence.”
“We must do teshuvah, and keep Shabbos appropriately. When the Bnei Yisroel do teshuvah, Hakadosh Boruch Hu safeguards them with a wall of fire,” but not of the incinerating type, Rav Yosef added.