by: Elisha Ben Kimon
Tuesday, 3 August 2021 | Israel Fire and Rescue Services claimed on Monday that many of the daily fires that broke out in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] were a result of arson.
“This is a life-threatening phenomenon,” officials said.
According to the fire-fighting authority, arsonists operated specifically on the hottest days with the aim to cause the most damage.
Israel is experiencing [an] 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.
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 doorstep of homes. “These are very dangerous days,” he said.
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.
Posted on August 3, 2021
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