Wildfires break out in Western Galilee; arson suspected

11 firefighting crews summoned after extinguishing 2 blazes hours earlier; 38 fire-related incidents recorded throughout weekend.

Firefighter watches water-dropping plane 311 (R) (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Firefighter watches water-dropping plane 311 (R)
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Firefighters battled flames at the Gilon junction and the Ahihud Forest on Saturday afternoon, after extinguishing two blazes that had broken out earlier that day and one on Friday.
More than 20 fire-related incidents have broken out over the weekend despite the absence of strong winds or burning sunlight, leading the police to suspect arson, Army Radio reported.
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According to Amir Levi, a Firefighting Service commander, “There is a suspicion of arson in some of the fires that broke out yesterday and today in the Galilee.”
Ten firefighting crews and all water-dropping planes available were summoned to the Gilon junction to put out the fire, while one crew was sent to the Ahihud Forest.
Earlier on Saturday, firefighters succeeded in extinguishing fires near the Birha military base and between the Ahihud junction and Barlev industrial area.
Saturday’s events follow a previous fire on Friday afternoon. Firefighters successfully gained control over it after the fire burned 200 dunams (20 hectares) in the Western Galilee.
Twenty firefighting crews were assisted by Jewish National Fund authorities and water-dropping planes in putting out the blaze.
Dozens of residents from Kibbutz Yasur and elderly residents of a local retirement home were evacuated.
Four people were treated by Magen David Adom and evacuated to hospital with light injuries from smoke inhalation.