A massive fire continued to rage Saturday night in Rosh Ha’ayin, on a day that
saw firefighters responding to blazes across Israel.
The flames started
at a car parts warehouse in the Ofek Industrial Park, and by Saturday evening,
20 crews from across the Sharon region were battling the blaze, which
firefighters said could result in a partial collapse of the building.
Rosh Ha’ayin fire was the most severe of several major fires that broke out on
Saturday, as temperatures climbed into the high 30s across the country, and
strong winds bedeviled firefighters.
Two tourists were lightly injured
Saturday afternoon and evacuated to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin
after they suffered burns in a fire at the Ben- Shemen Forest near
Firefighters believe that blaze was caused after park visitors used
a barbecue grill in an area where they are forbidden.
In the North, four
fire teams and two firefighting planes were deployed to put out a fire outside
Yavne’el, while four planes were sent to fight a blaze outside Almagor, during
which firefighters evacuated six homes in the moshav.
In the South, three
fire teams from Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Malachi managed to get control of a
fire at the Ra’am industrial area. Also in the South, three people were treated
for smoke inhalation at Kibbutz Beit Nir.
The string of wildfires
happened as Israelis began celebrating Lag Ba’omer, the holiday traditionally
marked by bonfires in public places.
The holiday is the busiest day of
the year for the fire services, and with the especially warm weather over the
weekend, on Saturday morning the national Fire and Rescue Services called on the
public to practice extra caution, and for parents to supervise their children
while holding their bonfires.
Zaki Heller, of the Magen David Adom rescue
services, said they will be on their highest level of readiness during the
holiday, as did Northern District police who will be stationed at the
traditional Lag Ba’omer pilgrimage of hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Jews on
Mount Meron, near Safed.
Also on Saturday morning, Public Security
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch spoke with the heads of the National Fire
Authority and had them raise their level of preparedness to the highest possible
standing in regard to the strong winds and high temperatures, and issued a call
for the public to practice extra caution.