Israel — At least 20 fire engines rushed to the scene of the blaze which broke out in woodlands near Hadassa hospital, just above the village of Ein Kerem, believed to be the biblical home of John the Baptist.
“The fire is huge,” police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
Fire retardant is dumped on the Jerusalem just above the village of Ein Kerem, believed to be the biblical home of John the Baptist.
“It is covering a huge area of several acres.
“We have evacuated the whole population of Moshav Ora and Aminadav, as well as Even Sapir,” he said, referring to three collective villages in the hills of south-west Jerusalem which are home to more than 2,000 people.
Police were conducting house-to-house searches to ensure no-one was left behind, he said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Two planes and a firefighting helicopter were overflying the area in a bid to douse the flames with water and fire retardant.
Several vehicles in the hospital car park had gone up in flames, he said, adding that the emergency vehicles had quickly secured the area around the hospital.
Huge clouds of smoke were billowing into the air, obscuring much of the view across the sprawling valley, local witnesses said.
Many roads leading to the area were closed to allow speedier access for emergency vehicles trying to reach the scene, they said.
Israeli Firefighter Carries A Hose During A Forest Fire