Blaze near the Dead Sea, Highway 90 closed for traffic

Four major fires broke out across Israel on Monday, with dozens of firefighting teams and multiple planes fighting against the flames.

 Wildfire near the Segula industrial zone in Petah Tikva, May 22, 2023 (photo credit: FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE)
Wildfire near the Segula industrial zone in Petah Tikva, May 22, 2023

Highway 90 was closed for traffic after a fire near Kibbutz Kalia, north of the Dead Sea, broke out again Monday afternoon after it was brought under control early on Monday Morning.

Because of the fire, Highway 90 was closed to traffic in both directions and the drivers were asked to use alternative routes. Fire and Rescue Services stated that the fire was quickly spreading toward Neve Midbar beach because of strong winds, and nearby beaches on the Dead Sea were evacuated.

Assistance from the Fire and Rescue Services' Jerusalem, Dan and South districts was requested to battle the blaze and planes with fire retardant substances are also on their way to the scene.

The fire near Kibbutz Kalia early Monday morning consumed an area of dozens of hectares of a date plantation. Because of the amount of smoke, Highway 90 was closed for traffic from Lido junction to Kibbutz Kalia junction. A fire investigation team stated that arson is suspected as the cause of the fire.

A 56-year-old resident of Beit Shemesh was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a number of recent arsons in Mateh Yehuda forests on Monday, with the latest one occurring on Sunday. The suspect denies the accusations, while the police stated that "all the evidence points to the suspect."

Another wildfire began in the Biriya forest near Safed on Monday afternoon. Israel Rescue and Fire Services operated four planes in addition to firefighting teams to gain control over the blaze.

Firefighters fight a wildfire near Petah Tikva, May 22, 2023. (Credit: Fire and Rescue Services)

An additional wildfire was caused by a burning car in a forest north of Kibbutz Nahalal on Monday evening. Six firefighting teams were on the scene to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby settlements.

20 firefighting teams battled fire near Petah Tikva

A wildfire broke out near the Segula industrial zone in Petah Tikva on Monday morning, with train traffic and roads in the area blocked by emergency services as they battled the flames.

Highway 40 from Segula junction northward was blocked to traffic for a number of hours. Train traffic in the area was also stopped and resumed a number of hours later.

About 200 students who were in a nearby park were evacuated by emergency services after the fire erupted.

20 firefighting teams and four firefighting aircraft battled the flames on three fronts, including one front in the Baptist Village in which a number of homes have been evacuated, one front by houses in the Hen neighborhood and one front near an abandoned building and eucalyptus trees.

Later on Monday afternoon, firefighters succeeded in gaining control of the blaze, but stated that it would take more time to completely extinguish the whole area that was on fire. Operations will continue into the evening, Fire and Rescue Services stated.