Fire authorities ban most Lag B’Omer bonfires due to heatwave

Ahead of the Lag B’Omer festival later this week, Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services issue a ban on setting bonfires, with some exceptions, due to extreme weather conditions.

The order goes into effect Tuesday at 8 a.m. and ends Sunday, May 2, at 8 p.m.

Under the rules, bonfires can only be lit in specially designated areas in cities and towns that received approval from the national fire authorities; in areas south of Route 25 in southern Israel; and at the pilgrimage site in Meron.

The rules come as Israel is expected to be hit with a major heatwave.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Amar at a bonfire during the celebrations of the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer at Mount Meron in northern Israel on May 11, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Lag B’Omer, which this year falls out on Thursday night, has become a key holiday in the Jewish mystical tradition, said to be the day of the death of Shimon Bar Yochai, and also marking the anniversary of when he first conveyed the text of the seminal Jewish mystical work, the Zohar. It also marks the end of a minor mourning period recognizing the deaths of thousands of students of Rabbi Akiva in a plague.


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