|Smoke from the forest fire, as seen from Beit Shemesh (Photo by Gil Cohen Magen/Haaretz)|
An extensive forest fire which broke out Friday afternoon in the Beit Shemesh area poses threat to the communities of Tarum, Ta'oz and Kfar Uriya.
The forest fire in Ya'ar Ha'Nasi ("President's Forest") later grew at a tremendous rate due to strong winds, Haaretz reported.
Forest fire has also forced the closure of Route 44 leading to the Nachshon Junction.
A dozen of firefighting plane and around 40 ground crews are struggling to control the blaze in Jerusalem area.
The Mount Carmel forest fire in Israel in 2010 claimed 44 lives. It was the deadliest forest fire in Israel's history.