Jerusalem Wildfires Under Control Now

Israel’s national ambulance services reported no severe injuries or death, but the fear of the fire reaching the city was high, as it was set about 10 km west of the capital.

Jerusalem on August 15 witnessed wildfires in the wooden hill on the outskirts of the city. The fire caused the evacuation of several small communities. Fortunately, Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance services reported no severe injuries or death, but the fear of the fire reaching the city was high, as it was set about 10 km west of the capital.

Israel’s fire and rescue commissioner, Dedi Simchi, said: “12 firefighting planes were deployed, with crews from 60 fire engines. Around four villages were evacuated according to the emergency services.” Simchi said they no longer face any “critical danger”, although “there are some pockets, where homes have caught fire which we are extinguishing”.

This massive wildfire destroyed over 6,200 acres of land around Jerusalem. Officials say that there have been no physical injuries to people, however, thousands of small animals have unfortunately lost their lives, this was marked as a success compared to the Mount Carmel forest fire in 2010, which took the lives of 44 people.

The wildfire was contained after crews waged a three-day battle joined by Palestinian firefighters and the Israeli Air Force. Most of the evacuated communities were able to reach home by Tuesday. On the same day, Israel also canceled their request for international help, realizing that it could be managed by the country.

A person films an Israeli Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo airplane dropping flame retardant to fight a wildfire on the outskirts of Jerusalem, on August 17, 2021. (AP)

A large number of fire trucks that came to this rescue were sent by Palestine Authorities(PA). While the Israeli Defense minister thanked PA, “I would like to thank PA Chairman [Mahmoud] Abbas for his initiative to send the firefighters who came to assist Israel today. Mutual care and saving human lives are common interests to us all.” Palestine agencies don’t make any efforts towards mentioning the aid.

In Israel and other Mediterranean countries, such Forest fires are common in the blazing summer heat. 

This year, deadly wildfires have broken out in Algeria, Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. Algeria was the hardest hit, with at least 90 people killed.

The officials have not yet stated the actual reason for the fire; they say it was “too soon” to predict the cause. While some analysts suggest that it could be negligence and have warned Israel to be prepared for such horrific fires in the near future.

Knesset member Alon Tal, a longtime environmental activist says, “these fires are part of climate change.” He also suggested that the populated communities near the forest areas must be evacuated in order to avoid human harm in the future.

Tal, who was also the former chairman of the Land Development Committee of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund adds, “We can’t deal with it as a passing episode but as a new natural resource challenge.”

Finally, Tal also warns Israel to avoid their tendency to try and repair the damage immediately and plant more trees as “the first thing you do after a fire is give nature a couple of years to get over the shock and start to restore itself.”

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