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Wildfire Causes Alfei Menashe Evacuation

Eight Alfei Menashe families evacuated from their homes Thursday afternoon due to brushfire.
By David ben Yacov
First Publish: 7/21/2011, 4:42 PM

Fighting the fire near Yad VaShem
Fighting the fire near Yad VaShem
Flash 90

Eight families from the Western Samaria town of Alfei Menashe were evacuated from their homes Thursday afternoon due to their proximity to a large brushfire nearby.

 

Storage facilities and bungalows caught fire. Firefighters put out the blaze with the help of aircraft, a firefighting method that was introduced in Israel following the tragic Carmel forest fire last year. No injuries were reported, but the damage is extensive.

 

The reason for the fire has not been determined.

 

Reports of a forest fire near Gillon in the Lower Galilee came in Thursday afternoon. Western Galilee firefighters are dousing the flames with the assistance of aircraft. No injuries have been reported.

 

A 50-year-old male resident of the town of Beit Zayit, near Jerusalem, was arrested on Monday, under suspicion of having caused the enormous fire in the Jerusalem forest earlier this week, after setting a trash fire in his yard.

 

The huge forest fire broke out last Sunday at around 15:00. It raged between Mount Herzl and the town of Motza, and consumed some 37 acres of forestation. Emergency medical units report that 5 people were lightly injured from smoke inhalation, and 4 were hospitalized in the Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein-Karem hospitals.

 

On Tuesday, a large fire was set near the town of Mitzpe Dani in the Binyamin region, the fourth in two weeks. A previous fire caused the evacuation of the residents' homes.

 

Three weeks ago a giant fire broke out near the town of Kochav Yaakov north of Jerusalem, threatening local homes. Tracks and empty firebombs indicate deliberate Arab terrorist arson.

 

A massive blaze raged last week in the Golan Jilabon valley, destroying some 2470 acres of natural forest.

 

Fire prevention awareness has not been a high priority in Israel, since most homes are made of stone. In recent years, with frequent forest fires due to terrorist arson and negligence, and especially after the devastating Carmel forest fire, there is considerably more awareness and education to fire prevention in Israel.

 

Forty four people perished in the Carmel Forest fire in 2010, which consumed some 9,900 acres of forestation (approx. 5.5 million trees). 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and there was extensive property damage.