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Firefighters battle blazes around Jerusalem-area towns

Wildfires near capital’s suburb under control; vehicle and pedestrian access blocked; no injuries or damage reported

  • Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 08, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
    Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 08, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
  • Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 8, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
    Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 8, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
  • Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 08, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
    Firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire blazing near Kiryat Anavim, outside of Jerusalem, on June 08, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)
  • A fire rages in an open area inbetween towns northwest of Jerusalem, June 8, 2022. (Israel Police)
    A fire rages in an open area inbetween towns northwest of Jerusalem, June 8, 2022. (Israel Police)

Firefighters battled to control fires that broke out in open areas near communities northwest of Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The fires were located between the communities of Kiryat Anavim, Beit Nekofa, the Jerusalem suburb of Mevaseret Zion and the West Bank settlement of Har Adar.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Police said on Wednesday evening that the blaze near Mevaseret Zion was under control.

The fires near Beit Nekofa and Har Adar had been contained by firefighters but were not yet under control.

The police closed the area to traffic and pedestrians, and the public was ordered not to approach the area until further notice.

Traffic was also blocked at the Ein Hemed interchange in the direction of the fire.

It was not immediately clear what ignited the fires.

Fire and rescue services were deployed to put out the fire, including 15 firefighting teams, six planes and a police helicopter. The local station is being manned and reinforced by firefighters from the West Bank.

An evacuation order for homes on a street in Mevaseret Zion was declared earlier but canceled a short time later.

Fires are common during summer in the heavily forested Jerusalem area.

The local Mateh Yehuda Regional Council experiences fires on an annual basis and was criticized last month by Jerusalem District Fire and Rescue Service head Eyal Cohen for failing to follow instructions to clear up vegetation in the area to keep blazes contained.

Last August, huge fires burned through some 11,000 dunams (2,720 acres) of forest outside Jerusalem over a 52-hour period, in what was suspected, but never proven, to be the result of arson.

Over 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes and several houses were destroyed, though populated areas were largely spared.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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