Fires Rage in Record-Breaking Temperatures

YERUSHALAYIM -
A fire in Moshav Mabu’im, southern Israel, on Wednesday. (Talucho/FLASH90)
A fire in Moshav Mabu’im, southern Israel, on Wednesday. (Talucho/FLASH90)

Firefighters fought blazes while Israelis all over the country underwent the second big heat wave this spring, as temperatures broke records that made May feel like August.

In the Nachal Sorek area near Beit Shemesh, a fire broke out on Wednesday that needed more than 20 firefighting crews and four firefighting aircraft to extinguish. B’chasdei Hashem, no one was hurt.

A fire in Moshav Mabu’im in southern Israel forced residents to evacuate their homes.

In Tel Mond, east of Netanya, a brushfire spread into a street, causing gas tanks to explode and damage to the electricity infrastructure on the street, Ynet reported.

Firefighting teams gradually gained control of the flames, but not before they had enveloped and completely razed three homes.

An 80-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair was rescued after her son and grandson, who live nearby and were home at the time, smelled the smoke, went outside to see what was happening and noticed the three homes on fire.

They rushed to theit grandmother’s home, which had also caught fire, and brought her to safety.

Earlier, a fire in the industrial zone of the northern Yerushalayim neighborhood of Atarot was brought under control by firefighting crews, Arutz Sheva reported.

Also in Yerushalayim, six people were lightly injured from smoke inhalation during a fire near a building in the eastern neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. The six were evacuated to the hospital, while the building suffered damage from the blaze.

Several departures were delayed at Ben Gurion International Airport because the extreme heat interfered with plane engines’ operations.

Several passengers had to return to the terminal, and some luggage had to be taken from the cargo hold to reduce aircraft weight and facilitate takeoff.

Israel Railways limited train speed to 80 kph due to the heat, which caused delays and changes on most train lines.

The National Weather Service said it was the hottest day on record since June 2002, and in the Gaza border area the hottest since 1970.

In Tel Aviv on Wednesday the temperature hit 107 Fahrenheit; in Yerushalayim it reached 102 Fahrenheit.

Temperatures were expected to dip sharply on Thursday, and a possibility of rain was forecast toward the end of the week in the northern and central parts of the country.