Lag Baomer

Lag Baomer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is a festive day in Jewish tradition. Learn more about this festival, check out the exciting KKL-JNF events for Lag Baomer, and most importantly, see the KKL-JNF guidelines for lighting bonfires, for your safety.

Lag Baomer in Jewish Tradition

The festival of Lag BaOmer has been kept since the period of the Geonim but its origin is uncertain. According to tradition, a plague which was killing off thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s disciples was halted on this day, at the time of the rebellion against the Romans which was led by Bar Kokhva.

Keeping our Forests Safe

Fires seriously endanger our forests!

KKL-JNF reminds the public of fire safety rules that must be followed (see Safety and Fire Prevention tips below). The public must light fires only in designated areas and must not build fires in the forests, as fire can spread and conflagurate into wildfires, as we saw with the November fires in 2016, that ended up burning over 3,758 acres of forests and open spaces in Israel.

Bonfires lit on Lag Baomer in 2016 (26th May) caused scores of wildfires that year, including five of them in forests around Jerusalem. Hundreds of dunams of Jerusalems beautiful Arazim Valley went up in flames, leaving behind burnt shells of trees and scorched earth.

Every year the smoke from bonfires causes environmental damage, because the air gets filled with toxic particles released by the bonfires, and there is an increase in the carbon dioxide levels that cause global warming. Air pollution surveys last Lag Baomer in the Jerusalem vicinity indicated an increase in the concentration of particles that pollute the air – 500 micrograms of toxic particles, compared with 50 on a regular day, a health hazard increased tenfold.

KKL-JNF asks the public to minimize the number of bonfires and to combine them, for example to make a school bonfire instead of a class bonfire or to make only one neighborhood bonfire.

Safety and Fire Prevention Rules

You must observe the following fire-prevention rules in KKL-JNF sites:

  1. Firstly, find a place that is designated for barbeques and/or bonfires in KKL-JNF's recreational sites.
  2. Check wind direction and velocity. If your site is completely open and there is a strong wind, do not light a fire there.
  3. Clear the area around your barbeque/bonfire of flammable materials, such as branches, twigs and leaves.
  4. Do not throw petrol, oil or any other inflammable substances onto the flames, nor objects that may explode.
  5. Do not use branches that have any green leaves.
  6. Do not throw trash into the bonfire, certainly no plastic, paint cans, disposable dishes or Styrofoam. When these materials burn they release toxic substances that pollute the air.
  7. Do NOT leave the site until your barbeque/bonfire is completely extinguished!!! Extinguish the coals with water and cover them with earth. Afterwards, turn over the embers to make sure there are no longer burning coals or hot embers. You should prepare water supplies designated for extinguishing your fire beforehand.
  8. Should a small fire nevertheless spread to the forest or adjoining trees, try to isolate it to prevent further spread. Beat the flames with green branches, frying pans or blankets and pour water and earth over them.
  9. If a larger fire spreads, remove all people, vehicles and flammable substances from the area and notify the Fire Service at once by calling 102.