Danger threatens Neve Shalom as fire spreads towards town overnight

A forest fire in Latrun is threatening the town of Neve Shalom. Residents have been evacuated and firefighters have been working hard through the night to control the situation and save the forest and town.
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Last night, a large fire broke out in the Latrun Forest adjacent to the town of Neve Shalom. Since early this morning, over 140 firefighters from 60 units with 10 aerial firefighting planes have been working hard to contain the situation though they have not gained control of the fire. However, firefighters have reported that the fire has calmed down and a number of sectors have been contained. Also, they reported a decreased risk to the neighboring town.

The fire broke out late last night at around 11:20 PM at which point many firefighting units were called to the scene to begin their battle to save the forest and prevent the fire from spreading to the surrounding towns. At around 4:00 AM, the wind changed direction and immediately endangered the nearby town of Neve Shalom. As a result, the town was evacuated and its residents were taken to safe locations.

Fires spread through Latrun Forest Photo Credit: Jerusalem Fire Department/Channel 2 News

Firefighters continue in their efforts to save the forest and town, successfully pushing the fire away from the town’s homes. At dawn, aerial firefighting planes were called up to provide air support to the forces on the ground.

Yasmin Alkelk, a resident from Neve Shalom whose home is very close to the fire, said earlier in a conversation with Channel 2 News Online that the residents are especially frightened by the situation. “My house is in the greatest danger and they told us to leave immediately,” she shared. “We were not even able to take anything with us from the house, not even a jacket. They escorted us to the farming fields near the town. You can see everything is red, on fire. It reminds us of the Mount Carmel fire.”

140 firefighters are working to control the flames Photo Credit: Jerusalem Fire Department/Channel 2 News

“Everything is in chaos,” said Marva Gabera, another resident. “The police went house to house to get everyone out.” Although her house is somewhat far from the line of fire, she still expressed her fears: “We poured water around the house so that it wouldn’t catch on fire. The kids were in shock.”

According to Gabera, the smell of the fire seeped through their homes. “The kids are asleep and the firefighters are right outside the house,” she continued. “You can see the fire through the window.”

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