Fire rages near homes on the West Bank on Monday

Arsonists cause West Bank fires during extreme heatwave, officials say

Fire and Rescue chief says he expects an average of 1,000 fires each month as service warns arsonists will target multiple locations simultaneously to challenge fire-fighters ability to control blazes that endanger lives and residential communities

Elisha Ben Kimon |
Updated: 08.03.21, 08:46
Israel Fire and Rescue Services claimed on Monday, that many of the daily fires that broke out in the West Bank were a result of arson.
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  • "This is a life-threatening phenomenon," officials said.
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    שריפות ביהודה ושומרון
    שריפות ביהודה ושומרון
    Fire rages near homes on the West Bank on Monday
    (Photo: Fire and Rescue Service)
    According to the fire-fighting authority, arsonists operated specifically on the hottest days with the aim to cause the most damage.
    Israel is experiencing is most extreme heat wave expected to last into next week with north-easterly winds arriving from Iran.
    The officials feared that multiple fires would be ignited simultaneously, challenging the service's ability to respond and endangering lives and residential communities.
    Fire and Rescue chief Dedi Simchi said his forces are bracing for the challenge.
    "Heat and dry conditions expected in the coming days will present optimal conditions for fires to spread and forces were put on full operational alert," he said.
    According to information obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet's sister organization, since the beginning of the year, 6,072 fires broke out in the West Bank and that number was expected to grow by 1,000 fires each month.
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    פלסטינים הציתו את מאחז אביתר
    פלסטינים הציתו את מאחז אביתר
    Fire at vacated West Bank outpost Eviatar suspected of being caused by Palestinians
    Since November of 2020, the service reported an average of 500 fires per month.
    The commander of the Fire and Rescue service on the West Bank Yeshayahu Bar Dov, said fires were often extinguished on the door step of homes. "these are very dangerous days," he said.
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    שריפות ביהודה ושומרון
    שריפות ביהודה ושומרון
    Fire fighters battle a blaze on the West Bank believed caused by arsonists on Monday
    (Photo: Fire and Rescue Services )
    The Civil Administration, Israel's governing body in the West Bank, said preventive steps have been taken such as clearing brush and dry weeds, cutting down trees and removing inflammable materials in open areas.
    "We will continue to do all that we can to increase the cooperation with the Fire and Rescue Services and local Palestinian and Israeli authorities," the administration said.

    First published: 08:39, 08.03.21
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