(USE) Forest Fire Jerusalem Yad Vashem_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Israel Police launched a fire prevention watch program on Monday following a
number of major blazes that broke out across the country in recent
Noting recent blazes in Jerusalem and Ein Tina forest, the police’s
head of Operations Branch, Cmdr. Nissim Mor, ordered all police districts to
draw up plans to prevent fires.
The 50-year-old Bet Zayit resident
accused of starting the Jerusalem forest fire when he burned trash in his
courtyard was released to house arrest on Tuesday, two days after the blaze he
allegedly started burned more than 150 acres in the forest near Yad
District planners have also been instructed to map out sensitive
areas in which fires can begin, and to hold intelligence- based evaluations on
threats of arson.
Police will also begin holding fire lookouts and
mobilizing officers to set up ambushes for arsonists.
Aerial patrols by
police helicopters and light aircraft will also be increased as part of efforts
to prevent arson.
Mor stressed that should a major fire break out, the
area affected must be isolated, populations evacuated, and roads must be cleared
for emergency response teams.
“In major blazes, a control center will be
set up under the command of police that will house representatives of all
emergency forces. The general public will receive continuous updates and
instructions,” Mor said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
commended the firefighters for averting tragedy, especially at Yad
Yad Vashem employees used the museum’s own firefighting equipment
to battle the blaze on the western perimeter of its campus, keeping it from
entering the area.
“The first goal is to save lives; the second is to
save Israel’s heritage,” Netanyahu said. “People are asked what they would take
with them if their home goes up in flames, and the first answer is usually a
photo album. Yad Vashem is the photo album of the Jewish People, and we must
watch over it.”
Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Lt. Asaf
Abras urged the public to avoid starting any kind of fire during hot days,
including trash burning, bonfires or otherwise.
“If they must have a
fire, it’s important to make sure it’s in an open area, away from residential
buildings or dry brush, which can catch fire easily,” he said on
Abras also stressed that it is important to have enough water –
or other means of extinguishing the fire – close at hand in case it gets out of
control, as it did with the Bet Zayit man.
“This was a very large area
that burned, and it’s going to take 30 years – or possibly more – for the area
to recover,” he said.