"99% of fires in Israel are caused by arson," Dr. Yehoshua Shkedi, chief scientist of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, said in an interview on Army Radio Wednesday morning.

A fire that burned near the Dead Sea over the New Year holiday consumed hundreds of acres. Three Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of starting the fire.

"It cannot be said that it's always deliberate arson, but it's not natural fire," he added.