Fires broke out in the Jerusalem hills Thursday night, and continue to burn as of Friday morning. According to The Jewish National Fund, forty firefighting teams are battling the flames, which broke out in a forest in the Sataf area of the Jerusalem hills. Eight fire-fighting planes and a helicopter also aided in the effort. It is estimated that 2,000 dunams (about 500 acres) of woodlands have been thus far destroyed. Moshe Suissa, the commander of firefighters in the Jerusalem district, warned Friday morning against hikers entering the area. "A change in direction and intensity of the wind could cause the fire to grow, and there is a danger that travelers could be trapped by it."In fact, travelers who were present in the area were evacuated, and others forbidden to enter. Overnight on Thursday, 27 fire trucks carrying 75 firefighters operated on the site, as reinforcements arrived from Petah Tikva. One of the fire engines was completely destroyed by fire, though its crew managed to evade injury. Ten fire fighting aircraft also worked through the night.
Last fall, fires raged throughout Israel, resulting in over 80,000 residents being evacuated from their homes and aid being flown in from all over the world.