Firefighters Continue to Battle Massive Wildfire Outside of Jerusalem
Firefighters continued to battle a massive wildfire that started on Sunday outside of Jerusalem, which 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. The fire that was still burning uncontrolled in some locations on Monday afternoon and darkened the skies over Jerusalem in the middle of the day has so far destroyed some 4,000 acres (16 square kilometers) of forest and scrubland, and several homes in Ramat Raziel. At least eight firefighting planes and four helicopters were dumping fire retardant on the flames being fed by hot temperatures and high winds. The fire is being fought on the ground by some 70 firefighting teams from Jerusalem and neighboring communities. On Sunday evening, the Israel Defense Forces were ordered to assist the fire and rescue services as needed. The fire is believed to have been started by people, though it is unknown whether this was deliberate or due to negligence.
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