Homes evacuated as forest fire threatens Jerusalem suburb
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Homes evacuated as forest fire threatens Jerusalem suburb

Strong winds fan flames toward Mevaseret Zion; firefighters battle blaze, supported by aircraft

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

Illustrative: Airplanes and  firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire which raged in Mevaseret Zion, just outside of Jerusalem. July 15, 2012. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Illustrative: Airplanes and firefighters try to extinguish a forest fire which raged in Mevaseret Zion, just outside of Jerusalem. July 15, 2012. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

A huge forest fire raging Wednesday near the Jerusalem suburb of Mevaseret Zion prompted firefighters to evacuate homes in its path, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services said.

Strong, hot, dry winds fanned the flames toward residential buildings on Oren Street and firefighters, together with police and municipal officials, told local residents to leave their homes, a statement said.

The fire was also alongside Highway 1, the main route from the capital to Tel Aviv and the central region.

There were no reports of injuries.

Ten firefighter crews were brought in from the capital and the town of Beit Shemesh to tackle the blaze, which began in a stream bed adjacent to the community. Firefighting aircraft were also deployed to douse the flames.

Unusually dry, windy conditions have sparked fires across the country this week. There were no injuries reported in the rash of fires.

On Monday a section of Route 6, a major north-south toll road, was closed for around three hours due to a fire that spread to both sides of the highway in the area of Harish, in the northern Haifa district of the country. The closure caused long tailbacks until firefighters, with the assistance of firefighting aircraft, gained control of the flames and the road was reopened.

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