Aug 2, 2015  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Environment,

Fighting the Beit Shemesh fire: A dramatic view from the ground in pictures

Photo: Or Many
A firetruck bearing the JNF logo at the site of the massive Beit Shemesh fire. 

A huge fire -- the largest in Israel since the 2010 Carmel forest fire -- destroyed nearly 400 acres of the beautiful Beit Shemesh forest west of Jerusalem late last month. Tens of JNF fire trucks and 50 JNF forestry personnel, along with firefighters from all over the country, joined to battle the raging blaze. 
It is believed the damage to the forest is so severe it will take nature 20 years to recover.

"Firefighters were deployed in large forces in the field to give a quality response, with great personal risk," Chief Shmuel Friedman, acting head of operations of Israel's fire and rescue service, told the JNF. "Despite the intense heat and smoke on a particularly hot day, the fire fighters were able to fight hard to stop the fire, preventing it from spreading to the communities." 

Crews remain on the scene and are still extinguishing reigniting areas while also removing trees in danger of collapse. Click through our gallery below to get a sense of how the drama unfolded -- and is still unfolding -- on the ground. All photos by Or Many