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Major Galilee Fire Continues to Spread

A major blaze that firefighters have been trying to quell since Yom Kippur morning has begun spreading again.
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/15/2013, 3:53 PM

Forest fire
Forest fire
Andy Klein/Kuvien Images

A major blaze that firefighters have been trying to quell since Yom Kippur morning has begun spreading again. Firefighters had been able to bring the blaze at Moshav Amirim in the Upper Galilee under control on Saturday night, but the flames began spreading again Sunday morning.

As a result, residents of co0mmunities near the fire were asked to leave their homes again for several hours Sunday, after they were evacuated and allowed to return on Saturday night. Later Sunday, they were again allowed to return home.

Amirim is located in the Upper Galilee, about 15 kilometers from Tzefat and overlooking the Kinneret. It was established in 1958 as a haven for vegetarians and vegans, a tradition it continues until today.

Firefighters from around the Galilee and Golan are working feverishly to prevent further spreading of the blaze, which has already consumed dozens of dunams of forest. Roads in the area have been closed in order to enable firefighters to access the burning areas without interference.

On Yom Kippur afternoon, about 100 residents were asked to leave their homes as the flames spread towards homes in Amirim. They were allowed to return, but several dozen are again being evacuated Sunday afternoon, as the fire redoubles in strength. Officials say they do not know when the fire will be brought under control.

It's too early to speculate on what might have caused the fire, officials said. Temperatures on Yom Kippur were considerably higher than normal, but officials are not ruling out arson as the cause of the fire. In a number of forest fires in Israel, the culprits have been Arabs arsonists who started fires for nationalistic reasons.