Unstable weather conditions tomorrow may threaten Lag Ba’omer bonfires tomorrow night, as children and teens around the country mark the death of an ancient Kabbalist sage and an important event in their social calendars.
According to the weather forecast company Meteotech, warm temperatures and dry winds will make this year’s bonfires especially risky, as fires may move with the changing winds.
Thousands around the country are expected to light bonfires to mark the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a Second Temple-era sage buried on Mount Meron. The holiday, which has also become an important part of secular Israeli lore, is usually marked by outdoor activities and barbecues.
Weather forecasters emphasized the need for adults to be present at bonfire, and suggested that water, sand and other fire-extinguishers be ready on site.
Magen David Adom will have ambulances, intensive care unit vehicles, and hundreds of First Aid professionals surrounding Mount Meron, which is expecting about 400,000 revelers.
Hundreds have already reserved their spots at the site, where festivities will last through the night in celebration of the hillula, or anniversary of the rabbi’s death.
The Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving in Israel published a warning for road safety, as previous years have seen a spike in accidents on the holiday. In 2009, 112 people were injured in car accidents on Lag Ba’omer, many on the road to Mount Meron.
To prevent tired drivers from getting behind the wheel, the group recommends that people use public transportation to get to and from the celebrations.
Besides the massive bonfires on Mount Meron, festivities such as nature tours and hikes will take place across the country, as well as the 6th annual Israeli College of Animation sand sculpture beach exhibition in Tel Aviv.