Homes Evacuated as Firefighters Battle Huge Blaze in Yerushalayim Region

YERUSHALAYIM -
A fire-fighting plane disperses fire retardant as it assists in extinguishing a fire near Kibbutz Maale Hachamishah, on the outskirts of Yerushalayim on Wednesday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Residents of communities in the hills surrounding Yerushalayim were evacuated from their homes Wednesday afternoon as firefighters struggled to contain a massive blaze.

The Yerushalayim District Fire Brigade said that the fire broke out on Mount Haruach, near the communities of Neve Ilan, Ma’ale Hachamishah and Abu Ghosh.

The fire spread soon after to nearby Mount Eitan and was nearing homes in Yad Hashmona and Abu Ghosh.

Firefighters said that they were not in control of the fire, which they said had continued to spread to other points.

View of a large fire near Neve Ilan, on Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Roads in the area were closed to traffic as the fire spread. A section of the Route 1 highway between Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim was also closed and the train line between the two cities was suspended.

The National Fire and Rescue Authority asked local police to prepare for the partial evacuation of residents in Abu Ghosh.

The decision had already been taken to evacuate residents from Ma’ale Hachamishah.