Blaze spreads northwestward due to high winds and dry weather conditions.
Residents of various communities in central and northern Israel were evacuated from their homes Tuesday as a forest fire that broke out Monday night in the country’s center spread due to high winds and unseasonably high temperatures.

Authorities evacuated residents from the northern communities of Moshav Aviel, Atlit, Zichron Ya’akov and the nearby Givat Eden along with the central communities in Latrun and Neve Shalom as firefighters worked to control the blaze. The Neve Shalom area residents were later permitted to return to their homes once warnings of immediate danger were lifted.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, about 40 firefighting teams were operating in the Zichron Ya’akov area.

Some 200 students were also evacuated from schools in the northern Hof Hacarmel region near Haifa where at least nine firefighting crews were working to extinguish the flames.

Authorities also feared that flames from another forest fire that broke out would reach the northern Nesher region, leading to the evacuation of three nearby factories.

Magen David Adom reported that seven people had suffered light injuries and smoke inhalation and were evacuated to a nearby hospital.

MDA said it was operating at the highest level of risk and had called up reserve medical emergency volunteers. As of Tuesday morning, some 60 firefighters and 10 aerial firefighting planes were working in the central region to control the flames.

In light of the blaze, schools in various communities were also closed.