Homes briefly evacuated in Beit Shemesh amid rash of brush fires
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Homes briefly evacuated in Beit Shemesh amid rash of brush fires

Emergency services gain control of blaze before damage to property; more fires in north as summer heat takes its toll

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Firefighters extinguish the remains of a fire in at a forest in the city of Beit Shemesh, August 26, 2019. (Flash90)
Firefighters extinguish the remains of a fire in at a forest in the city of Beit Shemesh, August 26, 2019. (Flash90)

Several wildfires broke out near the city of Beit Shemesh, in northern Israel and elsewhere  Monday, with several families forces out of their homes as flames approached.

The fires came against a background of unrelenting hot weather and dry conditions.

Residents of buildings along HaGefen Street in the city of Beit Shemesh were ordered out of their homes for about an hour as firefighters battled an approaching blaze in nearby woods. It took 10 fire trucks and two firefighting planes several hours to finally gain control of the fire.

There was no damage to any of the properties, however the fire service instructed city residents in neighborhoods close to the scorched area to keep their windows closed as a precaution against the smoke from the fire.

Temperatures around Beit Shemesh topped 34° Celsius (93.2° Fahrenheit) during the day.

Six planes and several fire trucks were also called in to deal with another forest fire that raged in the hills southwest of Jerusalem.

In the north of the country, 15 homes were evacuated in the town of Mashhad, north-east of Nazareth, as fire services extinguished brush fires in the area.

Another fire broke out close to Kafr Kanna, also in the north. There were no injuries or damage to property in either fire.

The hot weather was predicted to continue for the rest of the week with only a slight drop in temperatures.

Police on Sunday said they have detained seven teens suspected of setting dozens of fires around Beit Shemesh over the last year.

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