Firefighters face more blazes in north amid unseasonable heat

Three lightly hurt in overnight fires near Nahalal, Karmiel, Afula and Haifa; firefighters go on high alert; heat wave expected to last till Thursday

Firefighters work to put out a blaze that broke in the town of Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley, northern Israel, November 11, 2019. (Hermony/Flash90)
Firefighters work to put out a blaze that broke in the town of Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley, northern Israel, November 11, 2019. (Hermony/Flash90)

Firefighters continued to battle new blazes overnight Sunday and into Monday morning amid unseasonably hot and dry weather conditions.

At least four separate fires broke out overnight in the north of the country.

One blaze in the village of Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley spread to the agricultural community’s straw silos, which went up in flames overnight.

At least 10 firefighting teams were still battling the blaze Monday morning, with officials saying the village itself is no longer threatened by the fire.

In Haifa, two people were lightly hurt in an apartment building fire in the Neve Yosef neighborhood, which firefighters quickly extinguished.

Another man was lightly hurt in a brushfire near the Arab village of Dahi, close to the northern city of Afula. At least 22 homes were evacuated in the village before the fire was brought under control, officials said.

A third fire broke out near Karmiel, but is not considered a threat to people or property.

The heatwave is expected to last until at least Thursday. Expected highs on Monday, from north to south: Tiberias 33° Celsius (91.4° Fahrenheit), Haifa 32°C (90°F), Tel Aviv 29°C (84°F), Jerusalem 26°C (79°F), Beersheba 30°C (86°F).

The latest fires come after Sunday’s spate of brushfires. Large blazes were reported Sunday near Tzur Hadassah outside Jerusalem, and next to Kibbutz Ein Shemer on the northern coastal plain near Hadera.

Some 18 firefighting teams, including six firefighting planes, were called in to fight the Tzur Hadassah fire, which drew close to residential areas before it was brought under control.

A firefighting plane tries to extinguish a blaze near the town of Tzur Hadassah, outside Jerusalem, November 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Temperatures in the area stood at 26° C (79° F) with humidity at a very dry 15%, and eastern winds blew at 20 kilometers per hour (12 miles per hour).

Around 15 local firefighting crews and two planes were deployed to the conflagration near Ein Shemer.

There were no reports of injuries or significant damage in either case.

Israel’s Fire and Rescue Commissioner announced a ban on all fires in open areas until Thursday, including campfires and the burning of garbage in rural areas.

Firefighting teams around the country were calling in additional personnel and were placed on a high state of alert.

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