More than 370 treated in record-breaking heatwave
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Firefighters ask Israelis not to light fires from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday

More than 370 treated in record-breaking heatwave

Eilat sizzles in 46ºC heat (115ºF) as firefighters battle brushfires across the country; Routes 44, 375 outside Jerusalem, 90 in north closed

Children play in a water fountain near the Old City's Tower of David, Jerusalem, on April 17, 2016. (Corinna Kern/Flash90)
Children play in a water fountain near the Old City's Tower of David, Jerusalem, on April 17, 2016. (Corinna Kern/Flash90)

Record-breaking temperatures saw more than 370 people treated over the weekend for weather-related conditions, the Magen David Adom emergency medical service said Sunday.

Since Saturday morning, MDA said 172 people received medical attention after fainting, another 197 were treated for heat exhaustion and three were treated for heatstroke.

An MDA statement said its emergency crews were on “special alert in light of the heat wave.”

The unseasonable weather that descended on the country Sunday saw record-breaking temperatures in at least one Israeli city, and was blamed for sparking dozens of brushfires.

The Red Sea resort city of Eilat climbed to a sweltering 46ºC (115ºF), breaking its previous May record of 45.2ºC (113.4ºF) from 1980.

Israel Nature and Parks Authority workers try to extinguish a brush fire near Moshav Even Sapir, just outside of Jerusalem, on August 2, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel Nature and Parks Authority workers try to extinguish a brushfire near Moshav Even Sapir, just outside of Jerusalem, on August 2, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Sunday, temperatures in Jerusalem climbed to 37ºC (98.6ºF), Tel Aviv sizzled at 39ºC (102ºF), Haifa reported a high 38ºC (100ºF), and Beersheba reached a scorching 42ºC (107ºF).

The unseasonable weather was blamed for sparking a number of brushfires and other smaller blazes that saw several roads closed and prompted the evacuation of entire neighborhoods.

On Sunday, fires were reported in several areas around Jerusalem, including between the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Pisgat Ze’ev in the north of the city, as well as near the village of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem.

Residents of Beit Shemesh and Kfar Yona, near Netanya, were temporarily evacuated from their homes as firefighters took on large blazes in those areas. Other fires were reported at a Petah Tikva kindergarten, in an orchard outside Netanya, and in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood of Haifa.

According to Channel 2, police are looking into the possibility the blazes in the West Bank and north Jerusalem were the result of a firebomb.

To the west of the capital, sections of Highway 44 and Route 375 were closed in both directions because of nearby fires. Route 90, northbound near Beit She’an, was also closed briefly as a brushfire neared the highway.

According to reports, with the exception of the Jerusalem blaze, most of the fires were largely brought under control by late Sunday afternoon. There were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters have told the public not to light outdoor fires, including barbecues, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, when similarly high temperatures are expected.

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