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Firefighting official: It will take decades to repair blaze damage

A first responder looks out over burnt trees following a major fire which broke out in the Jerusalem hills, on August 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A first responder looks out over burnt trees following a major fire which broke out in the Jerusalem hills, on August 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Fire and Rescue Services Jerusalem District Commander Nissim Twito says the damage caused to the areas surrounding Jerusalem by the ongoing blaze will take decades to be fully repaired.

“I’m returning now from a patrol of the fire-fighting areas, and the sights are difficult,” says Twito. “I saw how the green lung of the Jerusalem area is blackening under the flames.”

“You don’t have to be an expert botanist in order to understand that it will take decades in order to rehabilitate what was lost,” he continues, noting the great environmental and ecological damage done by the fire. “The intensity of the fire burned the trees along their entire lengths. Therefore, the rehabilitation and recovery from such a fire will take many years and will leave the area burned for a long time.”

Fire officials say about 25,000 dunams (6,200 acres) have already been burned in the blaze, which is ongoing in some areas. That figure surpasses what was burned during the devastating Mount Carmel forest fire in 2010.

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