Photo Credit: Reuven Yitzhak, Beit Shemesh Fire Station
Forest fire raging at Mount Yaran

Firefighters battled several major wildfires on Monday in Israel as temperatures soared throughout the country.

In the northern Israeli community of Mashahd near Nazareth, in the Galilee, the residents of at least 15 homes were evacuated as flames rampaged through a forest nearby, forcing firefighters to battle the blaze for hours in the heat.

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Southwest of Jerusalem, a fire broke out in the lovely pine forests near Moshav Mata, keeping firefighters busy in the central region of the country.

By mid-afternoon, police were also evacuating residents of Beit Shemesh who live near HaGefen Park, due to the forest fire that was raging close to that area. At least 15 teams of firefighters and eight firefighting aircraft battled the blaze that threatened to spread to the huge Jerusalem suburb.

“There are many KKL (Keren Kayemet L’Israel) and other crews, as well as eight firefighting planes on site,” said Reuven Yitzhak, commander of the Beit Shemesh fire station. “The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is operating heavy equipment together with its field workers to allow the fire trucks to move into place,” he added.

As the sun began to set, firefighters were still battling to get control of the flames in most areas but the good news was that there were no injuries to report.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.