Jerusalem fire crews worked nonstop on Sunday, fighting a number of large fires,
many of which they believe were arson attacks.
The largest forest fire on
Sunday was near the Jerusalem suburbs of Ora and Aminadav, which drew nine fire
crews from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. Police evacuated five homes in Aminadav
and there was damage to a storage unit, but no injuries.
Fire and Rescue
Services spokesman Asaf Abras said firefighters were able to control the fire
within a few hours because they immediately decided to bring in firefighting
planes. Abras said firefighters are not sure whether the blaze was intentionally
Around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday five fire crews responded to heavy smoke
coming from the wadi next to the American Consulate in the Arnona neighborhood.
Later on Sunday afternoon, four crews responded to a blaze next to Highway 9
near the French Hill neighborhood. While they were dealing with that fire, they
received reports of six small fires in the wadi next to the Hebrew
Abras said the fires next to the consulate and the university
“followed the same pattern of arson that we’ve seen” in the past few
Jerusalem has been experiencing a wave of arson attacks in open
areas, originally concentrated around Arnona in southeast Jerusalem. Recently it
has moved to the forests in northeast Jerusalem as well. According to Abras, in
the past two weeks there have been more than 200 fires in open areas that
firefighters consider arson. There have been more than 2,000 arson attacks in
the past month-and-a-half.
In an average year, Jerusalem fire and rescue
workers respond to 8,000 fire-related incidents, of which 4,000 are fires in
open areas, fields or forests.
Jerusalem police arrested two Jewish
teenagers from southeast Jerusalem two weeks ago in connection with the arson
attacks, but the fires have continued unabated, leading police to believe there
could be a larger group involved.
Each fire crew usually uses about 3,000
liters of water per fire, Abras said. Arson attacks this summer are said to be
costing the Fire and Rescue Services astronomical amounts.