A major brush fire continued to burn Wednesday afternoon next to Mevasseret Tzion, a community located about six miles east of Yerushalayim. The fire broke out in a wadi at the eastern edge of the town, next to Road 1, the main Yerushalayim-Tel Aviv highway. The fire continued spreading in an easterly direction, in the direction of a large shopping center.
As a result, the center and houses in the area have been evacuated. 22 firefighting teams were on the scene, and firefighters were using planes to douse the flames from above. The objective is to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.
The fire was being abetted by the strong, dry winds from the east. Although rain fell over the weekend, conditions in the area were still relatively dry. Most brush fires in Israel break out in October and November, as dry conditions from the previous spring and summer months provide timber for relatively dry weather. Firefighters urged Israelis to be careful and not burn any open flames in forested areas. Fire investigators said they would be checking for the possibility of arson.