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Thousands evacuate as multiple blazes threaten Israeli communities amid heatwave

Dozens of firefighting teams fight conflagrations across country; several homes hit in Kfar HaOranim, Nof Hagalil; disruptions on highways 6 and 443

  • A fire rages near the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, October 9, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
    A fire rages near the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, October 9, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
  • Firemen fight flames near the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, October 9, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
    Firemen fight flames near the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, October 9, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
  • A firefighters and a soldier work together against a fire at the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, amid a rash of blazes throughout the country, October 9, 2020 (IDF)
    A firefighters and a soldier work together against a fire at the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, amid a rash of blazes throughout the country, October 9, 2020 (IDF)
  • A fire near Nof Hagalil in northern Israel, October 9, 2020 (Nof Hagalil Council)
    A fire near Nof Hagalil in northern Israel, October 9, 2020 (Nof Hagalil Council)

Firefighters were battling multiple blazes Friday near communities and major highways across the country, amid an intense heatwave.

Large blazes near six communities led to thousands of residents being evacuated, with one leading a section of the major Route 6 highway to be closed. Two people were lightly hurt by smoke inhalation in one incident.

One fire was burning near the West Bank settlement of Kfar HaOranim Friday morning. Local police said all residents were being evacuated from the community, located near the city of Modiin. Some four homes were reported to have caught fire. There were no known casualties.

A fire at the Kfar HaOranim settlemet in the West Bank, October 9, 2020 (Israel Police)

“Some 25 teams are at the scene, including volunteers,” police said, adding that firefighting aircraft were also working to help douse the flames. Windy conditions were said to be making firefighters’ work more difficult.

Several roads in the area were closed off due to the fire, including the Route 443 highway that connects Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — in the eastbound direction.

Another large fire was reported near Umm al-Qutuf, east of Hadera. Some 13 firefighting teams were at the scene and working to douse the flames. Residents were evacuated from the Arab village, as well as from nearby Kafr Qara and Ar’ara.

Two fires were also reported near the northern community of Nof Hagalil, where some residents were instructed to leave their homes. Some 30 firefighting teams were reported to be battling the conflagrations. Two people were lightly hurt after inhaling smoke and were treated by paramedics. Several properties were reported damaged by the fire.

A fire near the village of Umm al-Qutuf in central Israel, October 9, 2020 (Fire and Rescue Services)

Another fire was reported in the afternoon near the settlements of Mevo Dotan and Maoz Zvi, leading to the evacuation of residents.

Yet another blaze near Bat Hefer, east of Netanya, led to home evacuations and to the closure of a section of Route 6, also known as the Cross-Israel Highway. The highway was closed between the Nitzanei Oz and Baqa-Jatt interchanges.

The military said soldiers were dispatched to several fire spots to aid firefighting efforts.

A firefighters and a soldier work together against a fire in an unspecified location amid a rash of blazes throughout the country, October 9, 2020 (IDF)
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