update deskIsrael News

Children’s park evacuated as fires rip through Jerusalem foothills

The blaze broke out near Kibbutz Tzuba, 6 miles from Jerusalem’s Old City.

Flames spread across hills surrounding Jerusalem as firefighters battled heavy fuel loads, July 24, 2023. Credit: National Fire & Rescue Authority.
Flames spread across hills surrounding Jerusalem as firefighters battled heavy fuel loads, July 24, 2023. Credit: National Fire & Rescue Authority.

A children’s amusement park in Israel was evacuated on Monday as 50 fire crews and eight planes battled wildfires that tore through hills surrounding Jerusalem.

“We have been fighting a fire between Ein Rapa and Tzuba for the past three hours,” said Jerusalem District Commander Tafser Shmulik Friedman.

“This is a dangerous area for us with a heavy heat load, strong winds and a lot of dry vegetation,” he continued. “We reacted strongly with 50 firefighting teams from Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and reinforcements from surrounding towns.”

Eight firefighting planes from the National Fire and Rescue Authority, a police helicopter, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority, Jewish National Fund-USA firefighters and other volunteers all came together to extinguish the blaze.

The fires broke out near Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Mountains, about 6 miles from Jerusalem’s Old City.

Temperatures in Jerusalem are expected to nudge above 100 degrees over the remainder of the week with towns further south expecting 110 degrees.

Israel’s fire and rescue service is preparing for additional blazes as the country approaches August, traditionally the region’s hottest month of the year.

Flames spread across hills surrounding Jerusalem as firefighters battled heavy fuel loads, July 24, 2023. Credit: National Fire & Rescue Authority.
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