Northern Fires Caused NIS 3M in Damage

YERUSHALAYIM -
Forest fire near Ramot, (Yerushalayim Fire Brigade)
Forest fire in Yerushalayim, earlier this month. (Yerushalayim Fire Brigade)

Three major fires that broke out last weekend will cost over NIS 3 million ($800,000) in restoration costs, the Jewish National Fund said Friday. The group is searching for funds to begin restoration after the devastating fires burned hundreds of dunams of forest.

One of the fires that broke out over the weekend was in the forest next to Givat Hamoreh, a suburb of Afulah, while the second consumed over 300 dunams in the Beit Keshet. A third one broke out at the Tel Dan national park, destroying 60 dunams. In all three fires, the flames spread due to high temperatures and strong winds.

Each dunam costs about NIS 10,000 to replace, said Yiftach Har-Hol, chairman of the JNF’s northern division. “We don’t know exactly what caused the fires,” he told NRG. “In the fire in Afula we believe it started in the cemetery but we don’t know if it was caused by human error or had natural causes. It’s possible that someone lit a fire and neglected to put it out when they were finished.”

Meanwhile, a fire broke out Friday at the outpost of Ramat Gilad, next to Karnei Shomron. Dozens of residents were evacuated and roads were closed in the area for several hours as firefighters attempted to put out the flames. According to witnesses, the fire broke out when a land mine – apparently left over from the Six Day War – exploded during the course of construction, setting fire to dry brush and trees during the hot weather that prevailed Friday.