Jerusalem forests ravaged by fire

Monday, July 18, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

A massive wildfire burned 150 dunams (45 acres) of the lush forests that border the western side of Jerusalem on Sunday.

At the height of the fire, flames were encroaching on the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and several western Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Yad Vashem was evacuated, as were homes along streets nearest the forest, though firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from causing any damage.

Eight people - five firefighters and three Yad Vashem employees - suffered from smoke inhalation. They were the only injuries.

By 8 PM local time, the fire was under control and was no longer a threat to the city.

It was later revealed that the fire started simultaneously in five different locations, strongly suggesting that it was a coordinated act of arson.

Israel has been on high alert this summer for forest fires after last year's devastating conflagration in the Carmel Forest in northern Israel.

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