Large fire burns five hectares south of capital

Nine Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria District firefighting crews responded, as well as a fire truck from the PA.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
July 8, 2012 04:01
Illustrative

Firefighters outside Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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A large fire erupted in the valley between Har Gilo and southern Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon, burning more than 5 hectares (12 acres) of land.

Nine Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria District firefighting crews responded, as well as a fire truck from the Palestinian Authority. Firefighters also used two firefighting planes and a police helicopter that provided an picture of the overall situation.

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The blaze raced down the slope from Har Gilo and threatened to expand in a number of directions. It took firefighters more than two hours to gain control of the flames. No one was injured though the fire damaged several olive groves.

Firefighters opened an investigation into the incident.

Jerusalem firefighters have dealt with a large wave of arson in the past few months. There were 1,058 incidents of fires in open areas over six weeks in May and June. Firefighters have determined that at least 70 percent of those incidents were arson. There are about 4,000 fire incidents in open areas and forests in the Jerusalem district during an average year.

Police have arrested 12 youths, both Arab and Jewish, in connection with the arson.

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