Heat wave sparks large fires in Jerusalem

Fires in Ramot, Givat Shaul cause damage, but no injuries, in second day of fire frenzy.

Tova Dvorin ,

Israeli firefighters battle forest fire (file)
Israeli firefighters battle forest fire (file)
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Two major fires broke out in Jerusalem Monday - one in the wholesale market in Givat Shaul, and one in Ramot. 

Traffic was stopped on Route 1 in both directions as firefighting crews battles the Givat Shaul fire, which was outside the Sakharov Gardens junction; it has since been reopened for traffic. 

Fire services were called to the scene at 3:00 pm, after a wooden building went up in flames. It spread to several other structures in the market and to the nearby woods.

Fire crews told Channel 2 that fire had spread due to the roofs of local buildings being made of asbestos, and dust in the market and the heat as contributing factors; several teams and one firefighting plane were called to battle the blaze. Several warehouses were damaged, but there are no known casualties. 

Fire crews also contained the fire in Ramot after crews and firefighting planes were dispatched; no further details are yet available. 

Another fire broke out in an area adjacent to Route 2, near the Pardes intersection; firefighting crews are at the scene. 

And earlier Monday, yet another fire spread in the Beit Shemesh area, near the village of Uriah; Route 44 was blocked to traffic in both directions from Nahshon to Taoz as 60 firefighters and four planes battled the blaze, which had begun to spread across the road. Traffic reopened at 2:20 pm. 

The Uriah fire has destroyed about 500 dunams of forest, fire crews said, and electricity is temporarily out in the area. 

Unusually high temperatures have catapulted Israel into a brushfire frenzy, with dozens of fires being reported Sunday as well. 

On Sunday, fires were reported in Rishon Lezion, near the Kessem interchange, Petah Tikva, Luzit (Beit Shemesh area), Moshav Mata, Abu Ghosh, Tzur Hadassah, Haifa, Neve Sha'anan, Daliyat Al-Carmel and Ayalon.