Brush Fires Blaze Across Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Fire fighters work to put out a fire in the woods around the Ramot neighborhood of Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Fire fighters work to put out a fire in the woods around the Ramot neighborhood of Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Some 200 brush fires were reported around Israel overnight Wednesday and Thursday in Yerushalayim and around the country, necessitating some residential evacuations as scores of firefighting crews battled the scourge.

As of Thursday evening, the fires that caused dozens of evacuations in the northern Yerushalayim neighborhoods of Ramot and Romema were brought under control and people were told they could return to their homes. Traffic routes that had been closed in the city due to the blazes were reopened. However, officials from the Environment Ministry advised residents to remain indoors while smoke continued to present a health hazard.

The fire also spread to Ramot, Gilo and Mevasseret Zion, on the capital’s northern edge, where some evacuations were also ordered.

In all, 18 fire-fighting and rescue teams and four water-dropping air teams were called out to extinguish the blazes in the capital.

B’chasdei Shamayim, no injuries were reported.

Brush fires also broke out in the south, in areas near Ashdod, Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat including, Moshav Givati, Yanon, Merkaz Shapira, Beer Tuvia Sde Uzia and Timorim.

There were suspicions that the fire in the Yerushalayim area might have been due to a Lag BaOmer bonfire that had not been properly supervised, but there was no actual evidence of this. In the south, the fires were blamed on the hot, dry weather, which is a natural cause of brushfires.