Bonfires lit throughout Israel in honor of Lag b’Omer burned out of control. … Hot, dry and windy conditions in Israel contributed to several heat-wave-related fires …
A large fire broke out at moshav Kfar Uria near Beit Shemesh, causing the evacuation of 200 people from their homes and damaging about 500 acres of forest. Several serious fires also burned out of control in the Jerusalem area after Lag b’Omer bonfires were not properly extinguished.
Fires also burned out of control in Netanya and Rosh Haayin in central Israel.
Observant Jews have long had an uneasy relation with religious flames. In 2005, in Brooklyn,
A fire official said that the Orthodox Jewish custom of leaving a flame burning during Sabbath and holidays has caused 35 kitchen fires at Bedford Gardens, the 600-unit apartment complex in Williamsburg, in the last several months.
The faithful, you see, would just leave their stoves on for religious reasons, sometimes burning themselves and their neighbors out of their homes.
Injuries and deaths occurred frequently as a result of Passover conflagrations. In 2004, also in New York, five people, including two young children, sustained horrible burns when a rabbi’s son and Darwin Award candidate tried to keep a pre-Passover flame going by pouring paint thinner on it.
The situation has since improved, thanks to city officials and NYFD staff waging a yearly campaign to remind devout Jews that flames are hot and fire burns.
[image via Wildfire Today]