plane drops fire retardent in Jerusalem hills
plane drops fire retardent in Jerusalem hillsצילום: ניב אדן

Firefighters finally began to bring the massive fire which burned much of the mountains near Jerusalem under control Tuesday afternoon, after the fire had already engulfed more land than the deadly 2010 Carmel fire.

The fire has spread over 25,000 dunams (6,200 acres) since Sunday, surpassing the 24,000 dunams affected by the Carmel fire which killed 44 people.

Fire and Rescue Services chief Dedi Simchi told Public Security Minister Omer Barlev that Israel could withdraw its request for international aid in light of the blaze being brought under control.

About 150 firefighting teams were dispatched to combat the blaze, which forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and communities.

Twenty firefighting planes participated in the efforts to contain the inferno, dropping fire-retardant material in 500 separate sorties to douse the flames.

About 20 firefighters from the Palestinian Authority also assisted in efforts to combat the fire.

Commander of the Jerusalem firefighting district, Tafser Nissim Toito, warned that the ecological damage caused by the fire was severe and recovery could take many years.