More than 15 firefighting squads battled for hours to extinguish forest fires between the Jewish communities of Kfar Oriya and Taoz, and in the community of Nechusha, as well as in a forest near the community of Kfar Oranim.
A fire also broke out in the Lapid Forest next to the central Israeli city of Modi’in Illit, with firefighting aircraft being used to extinguish the flames.
It’s not yet clear how the fires got started. Eco-terrorism is common in Israel, especially during the hot, dry summer months.
“The firefighters worked on several fronts to stop the flames and contain them before they could spread towards the communities,” said Tafser Shmulik Friedman, commander of the Jerusalem District Fire and Rescue Service.
“At the same time, we were assisted by planes and a helicopter from the ‘Elad’ squadron that worked to contain the fire and extinguish it with a flame retardant,” he said, adding that the fires were under control.
Israeli police officers were deployed in Kfar Oranim to evacuate the first row of homes in streets where the flames began to burn closer to residential areas.
“After a battle of more than four hours, the fire has been brought under control. More than 15 firefighting crews are battled the blaze with the assistance of firefighting planes,” said Yehonadav Lifshitz, spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria district fire and rescue service.
“The firefighters will remain in the area for the next few hours to continue additional extinguishing operations,” he added.