4 firefighters hurt in major blazes

3000 dunams burnt in largest fire since 2006

June 29, 2010 19:30
3 minute read.
builiding on fire

building on fire. (photo credit: illustrative)

Major fires which broke out across Israel due to Tuesday's severe heat wave have been extinguished and all major roads have been reopened, police reported.

Jewish National Fund officials announced that Tuesday's fires throughout the country consumed 300,000 trees,  Israel Radio reported Tuesday evening. JNF Director Effi Shtentzler explained that the number of fires occurring on Tuesday was the largest since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. He added that JNF invests more than NIS 20 million every year in the battle against wildfires. Firefighters and JNF workers will remain at the scene of the fire near Beit Shemesh overnight.

Firefighters battle blazes across Israel

A total of 21 crews as well as 3 fire suppression aircrafts successfully managed to control a large fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon in Beit Shemesh. The fire, which mainly plagued nearby moshavim,  has consumed 3,000 dunams altogether between Moshav Tirosh, Moshav Gefen and Sedot Miha. Five homes were damaged as the blaze spread dangerously close to a military base.

Residents in areas of danger were evacuated from their homes, while four firefighters were injured from smoke inhalation. They were treated by Hatzala and Magen David Adom crews and one was evacuated to Kaplan hospital in Rehovot.

Melissa Kurtzer, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, told the Jerusalem Post Tuesday evening that the city was thickly covered in smoke. "My son came back from a friend's house and was so drenched in smoke that he had to shower and change his clothes as soon as he came inside," she said.

Ashkelon fire crews fought a large fire near Ammonim Junction on Route 4. As a result of the fire burning hazardous materials, Route 4 was blocked to traffic by police. No injuries were reported.

In addition, a large brush fire was burning near Har Kamon. Seven fire crews from the Western Galilee, as well as JNF workers and one aircraft were able to control the fire. No homes were damaged and in total 50 dunams were consumed.

In the area of Muhraka in Park HaCarmel, a fire broke out in the afternoon. Officials suspect the fire was lit intentionally as two sources of fire were found in the area. Six Haifa fire crews were able to gain control of the fire as a result of their fast response.  No injuries were reported as 4 dunams were consumed.

Another fire broke out near the Tayasim Junction in Yehud. Petach Tikva fire officials reported that the fire endangered equipment and armament warehouses at a local military base. Eight fire crews rushed to the area with assistance from fire stations from the center of the country.

Nearby, Petach Tikva fire crews fought to control a large field fire on Route 40 adjacent to Ben Gurion Airport and Bnei Atrot, with assistance from Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Givatayim fire stations.  No injuries were reported. 

A large forest fire burned between Park Sibil and Rosh Haayin and began spreading toward a Beduin village in Kafr Kassem, also on Tuesday afternoon. Six fire crews from Petah Tikva as well as a fire suppression helicopter attempted to gain control of the fire.  The fire spread to electrical powerlines in the area causing a power outage in the city of Elad.  As a result, several people were trapped in an elevator, one of which was evacuated to a local hospital by Yarkon MDA crews.

In the village of Yafiyeh in the North, a fire broke out that endangered homes in the area. Arabs threw rocks at Yizrael fire crews who had approached the blaze, causing them to retreat. No injuries were reported.

Modi'in Illit fire crews battled a large blaze near the Brakhfeld neighborhood. Fire crews worked to control the fire. No injuries were reported.

Rishon Lezion fire crews fought two large fires burning in the eastern and western parts of the city.  No injuries were reported. 

Galilee-Golan fire crews also battled a large fire in Givat Shoshana in Safed.  No injuries were reported.

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