Wildfires rage across Israel – Thousands evacuated
Thousands have been evacuated from their homes throughout Israel on Thursday after wildfires started as a result of an extreme heatwave, sending hundreds of firefighters to battle the flames.
Temperatures reached up to 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 Fahrenheit) in some parts of southern Israel. Authorities warn the public not to go outside in the afternoon hours.
Firefighters were battling a large fire in the Ben Shemen Forest near the central city of Modiin. In Beit Shemesh, firefighters worked to contain four different fires. In Jerusalem, a forest near the Uzi Narkiss Bridge caught on fire and roads were blocked due to heavy smoke.
About 30 families were evacuated in the Jewish community of Beit Haggai in the Hevron area. Residents were also evacuated from the Tifrah and Yachini communities as fire broke out in wheat fields. Residents of Mavo Modi’in, Gamzu, and Kfar Daniel are also being asked to evacuate their homes due to fires in the Ben Shemen woodlands.
At least 11 people were injured across the country due to smoke inhalation.
Israel Fire and Rescue Services teams are still battling to put out the fire raging near the central city of Elad, with firefighting planes hovering from above to assist ground forces.
Fires also started in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council in southern Israel, near the Gaza border. Investigators determined that incendiary balloons launched by Muslim terrorists in Gaza caused two fires in the Eshkol Regional Council.
On Friday, the heatwave is expected to reach its peak, and temperatures are even expected to rise.