Brush fires broke out in several places around northern Israel Tuesday afternoon, including a major blaze in and around the town of Zichron Yaakov that engulfed dozens of homes and caused police to evacuate several neighborhoods.
Eight people, including children aged 7, 2 and 10 days old, were treated for smoke inhalation as the fire licked the forest around the city and encroached on tony neighborhoods of private homes in the northeast of the hillside city, according to the Magen David Adom rescue service.
At least 10 homes were destroyed in the blaze, Israel Radio reported.
Firefighters dispatched eight planes and 40 vehicles to tamp down the fire, the Ynet news website reported.
Residents of the neighborhood of Givat Eden and surrounding areas were urged to leave their homes and shut their gas lines.
The fire is believed to have broken out due to the negligence of hikers in the area, Israel Radio said.
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The blaze was the latest in a day that has seen several fires whipped up by high winds and dry conditions, starting with a forest fire that caused the middle of the night evacuation of the Neve Shalom community outside Jerusalem.
Residents of the coexistence community were told they could return to their homes late Tuesday morning after firefighters successfully beat back the fire before it reached the village.
Firefighters were also battling blazes near a school in the nearby town of Atlit, south of Haifa, leading to the evacuation of around 200 students from the school, according to Israel Hayom.
There were no reports of injuries in Atlit.
Fires were also reported Tuesday near Nesher, a suburb of Haifa, and Hadera, south of the bay city.
Officials say unseasonably dry conditions and high winds have made the area ripe for brush fires.
In 2010, a blaze in the nearby Carmel Forest lead to he deaths of 44 people, the deadliest blaze in the country’s history.