An inferno that swept Jerusalem on Sunday, was mostly controlled on early Monday morning but continued to burn through the wooded hillsides outside Jerusalem. One of the biggest fires in Jerusalem in years, officials said firefighters had managed to get enough of the blaze under control to ensure that there was no immediate danger to homes in the area.
What is most likely considered a manmade fire, the source, and intention of which is still unknown, the massive fire in Israel damaged 17,000 dunams (6.5 square miles) of land since it first started blazing on Sunday.
“There are still five active fires, but it is not endangering any residents for now,” Jerusalem fire chief Shlomi Ben Yair told Army Radio early Monday. “We’re focusing on aid efforts for emergency services and for families evacuated from their homes.”
According to local media reports, the fire forced at least 10,000 people to flee from six towns west of the capital: Beit Meir, Ksalon, Ramat Raziel, Shoresh, Sho’eva, and Givat Ye’arim. The Mateh Yehuda Regional Council said in a statement that most of the damage had been centered near Ramat Raziel, and several homes in the area had faced significant damage.
As firefighting planes restarted their work on Monday morning after being grounded for the night, Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi said investigators believed the blaze had been started by humans.“This is a manmade fire, whether it was intentionally criminal or negligent,” Simchi said.