Heat wave sparks brush fires throughout Israel

Massive blaze draws 20 crews and four planes to Beit Shemesh; three homes consumed in Tel Mond

A fire near Jerusalem on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 (courtesy Fire and Rescue Authority)
A fire near Jerusalem on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 (courtesy Fire and Rescue Authority)

Brush fires were raging in various locations throughout the country on Wednesday as Israel was hit by a powerful heatwave.

Blazes were reported in the Golan Heights, Jerusalem outside of Beit Shemesh, and in the northern West Bank.

In the town of Tel Mond north of Tel Aviv, three homes went up in flames after a gas tank exploded, the Ynet news site reported. Another wildfire was reported near Mabu’im in the northern Negev.

Several small fires were reported in Jerusalem, including in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud and the Atarot industrial area. Six were evacuated from those areas with light injuries.

Twenty firefighting crews and four firefighting aircraft were also battling a large blaze around Beit Shemesh in the Nahal Sorek forest. In the northern West Bank, fifteen firefighting teams and six firefighting aircraft were attempting to extinguish a fire near the Jewish settlement of Sal’it.


Delays were reported at Ben Gurion International Airport on account of the heat. One toddler was also taken to the hospital after being left in a car for two hours in Petah Tikvah. He is listed in stable condition, according to Ynet.

Israel’s National Fire and Rescue Authority said it has placed 600 firefighters on alert at stations throughout the country. Its 12 aircraft have been placed on alert as well, and the public was asked to refrain from lighting outdoor fires of any kind.

Temperature on Wednesday were expected to reach 39ºC (102ºF) in Haifa, 44ºC (111ºF) at the Sea of Galilee, 42ºC (107ºF) in Tel Aviv, 37ºC (98.6ºF) in Jerusalem, 46ºC (114.8ºF) at the Dead Sea, and 45ºC (113ºC) in Eilat, meteorological forecasts said.

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