search

Brush fire ravages acres of forest land in northern Israel

Rescue services battle flames at Biriya Forest in Upper Galilee; visitors evacuated, no reports of injuries

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli fire fighters work to extinguish a forest fire in Biriya Forest, near Safed in northern Israel, April 25, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Israeli fire fighters work to extinguish a forest fire in Biriya Forest, near Safed in northern Israel, April 25, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Acres of forest land were burned in northern Israel on Monday, when a large blaze broke out in the Biriya Forest in the Upper Galilee region, close to the city of Safed.

At least six firetrucks and six firefighting planes were called in to tackle the flames that spread in the area, which is traditionally believed to be the location of the grave of Yonatan ben Uziel, a Jewish scholar who lived around the turn of the first century CE.

Hikers in the area were evacuated from the site, and local roads were closed as a precaution. After several hours, firefighters declared they had the flames under control. There were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters were also called in to deal with a blaze in the area of Gedera, in the center of the country, Channel 2 reported.

Earlier Monday, a fire broke out along Route 3, near Moshav Yesodot in central Israel. Train services in the area were halted and hikers were also evacuated from the area. Firefighters assisted by an aircraft brought the flames under control after an hour.

In February, Israel Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Shahar Ayalon told the Knesset Interior Committee that “we are today the safest country in the world in terms of casualties from fire.”

Ayalon described the improvement to massive investment in the nation’s firefighting service following the 2010 Carmel forest fire, in which 44 people died, most of them Prisons Service guards on their way to evacuate a nearby prison as the fire approached.

read more:
comments