Firefighters continued to battle blazes on multiple fronts west of Jerusalem for a second day on Monday as strong winds caused the fire to continue to spread, Trend reports citing Israeli media.
Some 10 firefighting aircraft and large numbers of firefighters are working to stop the flames. Israel Police evacuated the first line of houses in the town of Sho'eva as the fire neared the town on Monday afternoon.
Large blazes developed near Nahal Tsuba, Har Eitan, Sho'eva and Shoresh due to strong winds on Monday afternoon, according to Israel Fire and Rescue Services. The fire has also renewed near the Eitanim Medical Center, a psychiatric facility in the Jerusalem Hills. All the patients had been evacuated on Sunday but returned on Monday morning.
The Nature and Parks Authority announced on Monday that it estimated that firefighting efforts will continue for a few days and that thousands of animals and insects have been injured or killed due to the fire.
The huge wildfire spread near Jerusalem on Sunday, burning down thousands of dunams of forest and brushland and endangering nearby communities. High temperatures and strong winds helped the fire spread fast to the west of the capital.
The fire razed some 16,000 dunams as of Sunday evening, almost four times the amount burned in recent previous fires.
Some 70 squads from the Jerusalem fire department as well as neighboring forces attempted to fight the flames, but the fire was still uncontained as of Monday afternoon.