A huge blaze erupted in the Upper Galilee on Friday morning threatening Yesud HaMa'ala and the Hula Valley for a few tense hours. Firefighting teams eventually managed to extinguish the flames and prevented what could have developed into a major disaster.
According to initial details, the fire originated from a local icehouse. Six Fire and Rescue Services teams were dispatched to the scene around 11 am, where they battled the flames for nearly three hours.
One firefighter sustained mild smoke inhalations injuries.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop
The circumstances behind the blaze are being investigated.
The Fire Department ordered the partial evacuation of Yesud HaMa'ala over concerns that the flames might compromise a local ammonia storage.
A special firefighting team, accompanied by a hazardous materials team dispatched to the area by the Environmental Protection Ministry, took care to keep the ammonia storage cool, as the nitrogen and hydrogen-based gas is highly combustible.
Around noon, the nearby Hula Valley Reservation was also evacuated of visitors, due to the thick smoke enveloping the area.
The icehouse (Photo: Amnon Shahrur)
After several tense hours – and once it was clear the ammonia storage posed no additional danger – the Fire Department allowed Yesud HaMa'ala residents to return to their home.
Environmental Protection Ministry Northern District Head Dorit Zis explained: "The firefighters were able to contain the flames, and while we are still under heavy smoke, there is no danger.
"The Environmental Protection Ministry in monitoring the air quality in the area for hazardous materials," she added.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook