Firefighters work to extinguish forest fire near Kibbutz Harel, May 23, 2019.
Firefighters work to extinguish forest fire near Kibbutz Harel, May 23, 2019.Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

An order banning the lighting of fires and bonfires in open areas went into effect Sunday morning and will remain in effect until September 26, Israel Hayom reported.

The ban includes areas with flammable vegetation, nature reserves, forests, and shrubbery, as well as any habitated areas and up to 500 meters around them. In addition, the order bans welding and soldering and any open fires for a full twenty meters away from the aforementioned areas.

However, the firefighting chief of a district may provide written permission for special pre-approved events in his area, provided the proper safety precautions are followed.

The order was issued by Dudi Simchi, the chief of the Fire and Rescue Service, who said: "We are working to bring about a cultural change, wherein the public will avoid lighting dangerous fires in areas where there is a danger that the fire will spread, and in general working to advance a culture of fire safety at home and in nature. In many countries around the world it is acceptable to avoid lighting fires during the summer months, since this endangers lives and nature," Israel Hayom reported.

"Every year, tens of thousands of fires break out in open areas, causing destruction to nature, property, and even endangering lives. Israel's climate requires us to raise public awareness of the dangers involved in lighting fires, as well as awareness of responsible behavior in nature. This decision was made in light of dangers such as the weather conditions, the dry vegetation which raises the chance of fires. In addition, this past winter saw a lot of growth, which turned into dry grasses which raise the risk of fires."