Wildfire Outside Yerushalayim Starts Spreading Again, Houses Evacuated

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke caused by the wildfire near Givat Ye’arim at the outskirts of Yerushalayim, on Monday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The large wildfire outside Yerushalayim began to spread once again on Monday afternoon as the winds picked up, leading police to evacuate some residents of nearby communities.

Police have ordered Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to prepare for evacuation, due to the fire.

According to the Fire and Rescue Services, 10 firefighting planes are operating in the area. “The pace of the fire’s advance is extremely rapid,” a statement from the Fire and Rescue Services said.

The Nature and Parks Authority announced on Monday that it estimated that firefighting efforts will continue for a few days and that thousands of animals and insects have been injured or killed due to the fire.

A burnt area is seen following a wildfire near Kibbutz Tzuba on the outskirts of Yerushalayim, Monday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The huge wildfire spread near Yerushalayim on Sunday afternoon, burning down thousands of dunams of forest and brushland and endangering nearby communities. High temperatures and strong winds helped the fire spread fast to the west of the capital.

The fire razed some 16,000 dunams as of Sunday evening, almost four times the amount burned in recent previous fires.

Israel Fire and Rescue Services chief Dedi Simchi ordered a general call-up of firefighters and rescue personnel to help battle the wildfire.

According to Channel 12, Simchi told Public Security Minister Omer Barlev that Israel needs international assistance to battle the blazes.