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10,000 People Forced to Evacuate as Wildfire Rages On Outside of Jerusalem

10,000 People Forced to Evacuate as Wildfire Rages On Outside of Jerusalem

Israel is asking allies for help as the country tries to battle a wildfire outside of Jerusalem that started over the weekend.

Initially, Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service was able to gain control of the fire, but it then spread to burn about 5,000 acres of forested area near west Jerusalem.

Some 75 firefighting teams along with 12 airplanes are working to contain the fires, CBN News reports.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he has asked Greece’s foreign minister for more aircraft for firefighting. He also added that he’s reached out to the countries of Cyprus, France, Italy and others for help.

Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi said there are still more than 100 hotspots in the area that could grow out again.

“Putting out forest fires isn’t a simple task, it can take days,” Simchi told reporters. “Until it’s entirely put out, there’s a risk of resurgence. You see fires around the world that have been going for a week or even two.”

Simchi said he believes the fire was “100 percent caused by people,” but he said it was unclear if the blaze was caused by accident or arson.

Some 10,000 people evacuated their homes because of the fire, but there have not been any casualties associated with the blaze.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Ministry is warning residents that the smoke-filled air is highly polluted and is asking that they avoid prolonged exposure outside.

The wildfire is the second major fire this month in Jerusalem. In early August, a fire outside the city forced dozens of residents to evacuate. Previously, in June, several fires were also started near the Holy City. Fire officials say all of the fires were started by people.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Israel previously used a system to predict forest fires, but that system has not been used in four years.

Israel had chosen a new company to upgrade its fire detection system in 2019, but the project was never implemented.

Photo courtesy: Pexels

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.