Residents Evacuated After Fires Break Out Across Israel Amid Heat Wave

Firefighting teams gain control over the fires in central, northern and southern Israel as weather expected to intensify

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A firefighter near moshav Tslafon, central Israel, May 16, 2020.
A firefighter near moshav Tslafon, central Israel, May 16, 2020. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Firefighters gained control over three bushfires that broke out Saturday near Jerusalem amidst a heat wave across Israel, prompting the evacuation of 19 homes.

Border Police officers evacuated the residents of moshav Tslafon, near the central town of Beit Shemesh, where the flames were subdued shortly after. 

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The Elad Firefighter Squadron was called to the scene to assist firefighters on the ground to gain control over the blaze in the Tzora forest, near Beit Shemesh. 

The teams remained at the scene, fearing the fire would resume amid soaring temperatures.

Firefighters trying to gain control over the fire near moshev Tslafon, May 16, 2020. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Firefighting and rescue services reiterated their call to the public not to light fires in open areas, parks or forests.

In a separate incident, a fire broke out in the Wadi Ara area in northern Israel. Firefighters on the ground and police firefighting planes brought the conflagration under control, but police request that in light of the weather, residents stay vigilant and notify the authorities if they identify additional bushfires.  

In addition, a fire also broke out Eshkol Regional Council, bordering Gaza. Large firefighting teams were called to the scene, gaining control over the fire. 

Saturday saw a sharp rise in temperatures, particularly in the country’s coastal area. On Sunday, the heat wave and is expected to intensify, lasting well into Monday.