With High Heat and Heavy Winds, Firefighters Quell Blazes Throughout Israel

Firefighting teams are working to quell blazes near Rosh Ha'ayin, and allowed evacuated residents of the northern village of Gita to return home

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The fire near Gita on Saturday.
The fire near Gita on Saturday.Credit: Fadi Amun

With high temperatures and strong winds, Israel's north and center are experiencing a string of wildfires on Saturday, with firefighting crews and aircraft deployed across the country to fight the blazes.

In Moshav Zeitan in central Israel, homes were evacuated, and firefighting crews were mobilized after a wildfire broke out. Police officers worked to clear the residents out and get them to safety. About 15 firefighting crews battled the blaze, and got it under partial control by the afternoon.

Other fires have broken out in the north, with firefighting crews working in a number of places. In Hadera, teams are battling a blaze in an open field.

Firefighting crews are also working to protect homes in Yarka and Wadi al Majnuna; more teams and firefighting aircraft are on their way to control the blaze and evacuate residents.

The fire by the Har Adar settlement, near Jerusalem, on Friday night.Credit: Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services

In Kafr Yasif, teams fought a fire in an olive grove and prevented it from burning down the first line of homes. A truck and a private car went up in flames. Crews succeeded in managing the blaze there and in Kafr Kabul.

The residents of 75 homes in the Galilee-area town of Gita were evacuated Saturday morning as wildfires encroached on the area. One house was burnt down, and several others were damaged. About 30 teams are working to put the fire out, as well as five aircraft.

At first, the residents of 20 homes in the village were first told to evacuate by firefighters, and a local security official later decided that the rest of the residents be moved out as well due to heavy smoke.

Police and firefighters decided by the early afternoon to allow them to return to their homes, as the fire no longer posed a danger to their community. One firefighter received medical care at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation.

Several firefighting crews are in the Rosh Ha'ayin area, fighting fires in several areas in the central city, which are not yet under control. Another blaze broke out Saturday morning near Abu Ghosh, but fire and rescue teams were able to put it out.

The Jewish National Fund advised the public not to visit its parks and forests on Saturday due to the wildfire risk and chance of falling trees and branches, as strong winds are expected.

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