Major fire ravages Jerusalem hills, 60 homes evacuated



Israeli authorities battled a major wildfire in the Jerusalem hills on Thursday. (Illustrative photo). Credit: Fema/Andrea Booher via Wikimedia Commons.

( A major wildfire on Thursday destroyed up to 250 forest acres in Jerusalem, forcing as many as 60 residential homes to be evacuated. 

The fire first broke out in the afternoon in the hills of Jerusalem as firefighters were trying to put about 180 small fires that were caused by bonfires for the Lag B'Omer holiday that were not extinguished properly. Firefighters, parks authority teams, and police spent hours extinguishing the flames.

"The whole forest is burnt, black, and smoky. There's a suffocating stench in the houses, and we found black bits scattered on the balconies and in the gardens. We still can't open the windows, and we're shut in with the air conditioning on,” Liat Gretz, one the residents who was forced to evacuate, told Israel Hayom.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated four people who were lightly injured from smoke inhalation. Only two homes were damaged before firefighters were able to get the blaze under control.

Posted on May 27, 2016 .