Six firefighting aircraft and eight ground crews of firefighters were kept busy Sunday from the late afternoon into the evening hours battling blazes at locations in a long-distance ring all around Jerusalem.
The fires were burning in forests near Elon Moreh, Maale Adumim, Beit Shemesh and Gva’ot — each in a different direction around the capital.
Elon Moreh is located in Samaria, north of Jerusalem and Maale Adumim is an eastern suburb close to the capital, located in the desert hills. Beit Shemesh is a forested suburb just west of Jerusalem; and Gva’ot is in the westernmost area of the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea, not far from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, towards the central plains area called the “Shfela.” Dozens of families were evacuated in the Samaria Jewish community of Elon Moreh as the forest fire burned dangerously close to the houses in that area. In the other communities, the fires blazed farther away, with residents watching anxiously but fortunately not needing to leaving their homes.
By evening even the largest of the fires was under control, officials reported. It is not yet clear what started the rash of wildfires, although the weather has been exceptionally hot with extremely dry conditions.