Firefighters Contain Jerusalem Blaze After Evacuating Residents

A fire in Ramot forest apparently erupted because of a bonfire that wasn’t put out properly, leading to the evacuation of over 60 homes.

A plan battling a brush fire in the Jerusalem area, May 26, 2016.
Emil Salman

Jerusalem residents have returned to their homes Thursday evening after firefighters gained control of several fires in the capital, including a large one in Ramot forest.

Residents were evacuated and the police emptied two Welfare Ministry buildings in Jerusalem after several threatening fires broke out in the area on Thursday afternoon.

People watch a fire blazing in the Ramot forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
Emil Salman

A particularly large fire raged in the Ramot forest, leading to the evacuation of some 60 homes in the nearby neighborhood of Ramot and the town of Mevasseret Zion.

The Ramot blaze seemingly erupted because of a bonfire that wasn’t put out properly. On Wednesday night, bonfires were lit across the country in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer.

A nearby horse ranch was also evacuated. In Mevasseret Zion, police forces evacuated homes near the forest.

The fire near Ramot caused extensive damage to the area. Preliminary estimations say about 1,000 dunam were destroyed in the fire, 700 of them of natural forest. The forest near Ramot is a natural habitat of a large verity of plants and animals.

An additional fire broke out in Jerusalem's Romema neighborhood where police evacuated homes, as well as two Welfare Ministry buildings. Residents were later allowed to return.

Ten homes were also evacuated in the neighborhood of Abu Ghosh, where firefighters were eventually successful at suppressing the flames.

Meanwhile, a brushfire broke out in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem. Five residential buildings were evacuated and one person was given medical care for smoke inhalation before residents were able to go back to their homes.

Forty-eight firefighter teams battled the fires, aided by 11 firefighting planes.

Several roads around Jerusalem were closed to traffic as a result of the blaze, but were later reopened as firefighters began beating back the flames.

In the southern moshavim of Ahuzam and Azrikam, firefighters were also working to extinguish a large brushfire.