J’m Area Fire: 25,000 Dunams Scorched, Homes Burned, Rehab Will Take Decades

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Smoke and red fire retardant sprayed by Israeli firefighting aircraft mingles on a hillside on the third day of wildfires in the Jerusalem mountains, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Israeli firefighters worked for a third consecutive day on Tuesday to contain a wildfire that has consumed a large swath of forest west of Jerusalem and threatened several communities. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

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The fire outside Jerusalem continues to burn for the third day on Tuesday, with 25,000 dunams of forest already scorched, more than the Carmel fire in 2010 which killed 44 people and burned 24,000 dunams of land.

After Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services said on Tuesday that the fire is under control, the Israeli government withdrew its request for international help from its allies.

However, Israel did accept an offer from the Palestinian Authority to assist and four firefighting teams began contributing to firefighting efforts on Tuesday afternoon.

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate, some twice over two consecutive days, much damage was incurred to homes and other property, and thousands of animals and insects were killed or injured. A number of homes in Givat Ye’arim were completely burned.

Experts say that rehabilitating from the fire will take decades.

A statement from the Communications Ministry on Tuesday said that the fire had damaged Bezek infrastructure and Cellcom and Pelephone service sites in some areas.

The Environmental Protection Ministry warned on Tuesday of high levels of air pollution in Givat Ye’arim and Kibbutz Tzuba.

Below, exhausted firefighters at Kibbutz Tzuba take a nap.

A separate forest fire broke out near a school in Nof Hagalil in the north on Tuesday afternoon and multiple firefighting planes had to be diverted to the area to fight the blaze. Residents of the outskirts of the town have been evacuated.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)