Record-breaking heat sparks multiple brushfires

May 15, 2016  

An extreme heat wave nationwide Sunday has sparked brushfires and broken records, meteorological experts reveal. 

Temperatures reached 46°C (114.8°F) in Eilat Sunday afternoon, breaking the record for May; the previous record was 45.2°C (113.4°F) in May 1980. 

Elsewhere, Be’er Sheva reached 43°C (109.4°F); Tiveria (Tiberias), 42°C (107.6°F); Tel Aviv, 40°C (104°F); and Jerusalem, 36°C (96.8°F).

A heat wave of these extremes occurs in Israel “every 10-12 years,” Dr. Amos Porat, Climate Director at the Meteorological Service, stated to Walla! News Sunday evening. The current heat wave is expected to last until at least Tuesday night. 

Meanwhile, the heat has been attributed as the cause of multiple fires nationwide, many of which remain uncontained. 

Five firefighting teams are currently battling a fire in Rishon Lezion; a major brushfire burns near the Kessem interchange; and two more fires have been reported in Petah Tikva and Ayalon.

In the Beit Shemesh area, a frequent flashpoint, fire crews managed to contain a blaze outside Luzit in the Elah Valley; the fire was contained meters away from homes and chicken coops. Another fire broke out near Moshav Mata, requiring the help of seven firefighting teams and one firefighting plane. Route 435 was temporarily shuttered in both directions between Etziona and Tzur Hadassah. 

In yet another fire, a large blaze burns near Abu Ghosh off Route 1, where the fire spread toward Kiryat Anavim due to high winds. Another fire burned outside Tzur Hadassah. 

Two more fires began in open fields outside Haifa, and a third in Neve Sha’anan. Four firefighting teams also contained a blaze outside Daliyat-Al-Carmel.

The heat itself remains a danger as well: Magen David Adom (MDA) teams were called to a building site in Lod earlier Sunday to treat a 30-year-old worker for heat stroke. 

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