Park evacuated, roads shut as brush fire spreads
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Park evacuated, roads shut as brush fire spreads

Emergency services combat flames near Beit Guvrin

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Firefirghting teams seen fighting a blaze in the Jerusalem mountains, July 2012 (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/flash90)
Firefirghting teams seen fighting a blaze in the Jerusalem mountains, July 2012 (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/flash90)

A brush fire was raging near the Beit Guvrin national park in the center of the country Monday afternoon, prompting emergency crews to evacuate visitors and close nearby roads.

Some 20 firefighting crews, along with crop-dusting planes, were combating the blaze.

The “extreme heat and wind” make the task of extinguishing the fire “very difficult,” one firefighter told Israel Radio.

The large fire, which started at the IDF’s central command training center in Lachish, was encroaching on the property of Kibbutz Lachish.

As of Monday afternoon, it had consumed some 7,400 acres of natural and planted forests.

On Monday, over 70 fires were reported across the country, most of them related to Lag B’Omer holiday bonfires from the night before.

Most of the fires were in Israel’s south, where the dry plants easily burned. Two fires broke out near Jerusalem, while another large fire was put out near Kadima in central Israel.

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