Several large fires broke out in Israel on Wednesday, requiring more than 70 firefighting crews, 10 firefighting planes and two helicopters to control the blazes.
According to the Times of Israel, one massive fire, which caused evacuations, road closures and train traffic disruptions, broke out in a wooded area in West Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon.
The Jerusalem fire was on Mount Haruah in the Jerusalem hills, near the Neve Ilan moshav. According to CBN News, the fire quickly spread near Mount Eitan and to the communities of Kibbutz Ma'ale Hahamisha, Abu Ghosh and Neve Ilan.
Residents in Kibbutz Ma’ale Hahamisha in the Judean hills were ordered to evacuate their homes. According to The Jerusalem Post, these residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.
Twenty-nine firefighting teams and 10 firefighting planes were deployed to fight the Jerusalem-area fire.
According to Haaretz, fire crews were able to control the blaze by 8 pm on Wednesday.
Later that day, several more fires, some large, also broke out in the northern West Bank near Ariel.
Haaretz reports that six teams of firefighters responded to the West Bank fires.
Police and fire officials are currently investigating the cause of the fires, though initial reports are speculating that the fires are the result of arson attacks.
Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi told Channel 13, “We did not see any lightning in the skies over the country today, and we will clarify if this was arson or not later.”
According to The Jerusalem Post, firefighters have reported that, so far, at least 2,650 acres of forest have been scorched in the Jerusalem fire. The fire near Ariel, which broke out in an open field, reportedly burned an estimated 28.3 hectares of forest before firefighters were able to contain the blaze.
Photo courtesy: Zoltan Tasi/Unsplash
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