Massive Wildfire Outside Jerusalem Leads to Evacuations
A massive wildfire that started outside of Jerusalem has caused the evacuation of thousands of residents of at least six communities: Beit Meir, Ksalon, Ramat Raziel, Shoresh, Sho’eva and Givat Ye’arim. Sunday’s fire, whose smoke darkened the sky over Jerusalem, is believed to have been started by people, though it is unknown whether it was deliberate or due to negligence. Eight firefighting planes and four helicopters were dumping fire retardant on the flames being fed by hot temperatures and high winds. They were expected to continue battling the fire overnight.
Following an assessment of the spreading fire, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces would assist the fire and rescue services as needed, and that a “stringent approach must be taken” in terms of decisions to evacuate neighborhoods, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. Bennett said that he would keep updated on the need for aerial assistance from other countries. Greece reportedly has already offered to assist in fighting the fires, just days after Israeli planes helped Greece to battle a large fire.
Several people have been treated for smoke inhalation but did not require hospitalization.