Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) and Israel Nature and Parks Authority staff members are amidst intensive preparations to receive the hundreds of thousands of people expected to flock to the nation’s parks, forests and nature reserves in celebration of Independence Day on Tuesday.

Every year, a record number of tourists come to hike and picnic in the country’s parks, making it a challenge to keep the sites clean. This year, KKL-JNF will be distributing about 2 million trash bags to visitors, so that they can do their utmost to maintain the country’s treasured sites, the organization said. Likewise, foresters are to patrol many of the grounds and ensure that visitors thoroughly understand fire safety rules.

“Last year over a million visitors came to the forests, parks and parking lots of KKLJNF, and this year we expect about 1.3 million visitors, based on the increased turnout during the recent holidays,” said KKL-JNF chairman Efi Stenzler.

Barbecuers should take care to ignite their grills only in designated areas, and should also check the wind direction in order to ensure that sparks do not fly into the woods, KKL-JNF instructions said. It is crucial not to leave embers on the ground unless they have been extinguished by water and covered in soil, the organization noted.

The environmental Zionist organization Green Now likewise called upon Israelis to remember that celebrating the country’s continuity also means protecting the environment they love.

Picnickers should use grills that consume electricity or gas rather than fuel sources that can generate dangerous fumes, Green Now director Yael Israel said. While not ideal, burning newspapers or a cardboard box of coals is still preferable to using more polluting items such as glossy or coated papers, she added.

In addition, it is critical to make sure that no garbage bags are left outside of securely closed bins, in order to prevent the remains from catching on fire, she said.

Despite the many Israelis eager to bring their grilling equipment and hiking shoes to the nation’s outdoors on Tuesday, the Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) forecasts for Independence Day have been rather grim for a large portion of the country.

According to the IMS forecast, while Israel’s southernmost region will remain welcoming to visitors, with sunny skies and nearly 30-degree-Celsius temperatures basking Eilat, skies are expected to be partly cloudy further north in the Beersheba area, with a maximum temperature of only 21 degrees Celsius.

The day’s dreariest forecasts have been predicted for the country’s northern and central regions, which are likely to feature mostly cloudy skies, isolated thunderstorms and scattered showers. As temperatures drop significantly to unseasonably low levels and as winds intensify, waves in the Mediterranean Sea are expected to become moderate to rough – making swimming dangerous, the IMS warned.

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