The record-high heat wave descending on Israel on Wednesday has led to an outburst of fires, with three homes burned to the ground and a large forest outside Beit Shemesh blazing in a massive fire that is spreading out of control.
Earlier in the afternoon three homes belonging to a single family caught fire on Golan Street in Tel Mond, a town located to the east of Netanya, after a brush fire spread to the homes.
Fortunately no one was home at the time, as the fire set two gas balloons on fire and caused them to explode.
Numerous firefighting crews fought valiantly to put out the fire and check its spread to other homes, which eventually they did - but not before all three houses burned down completely.
Meanwhile, in Beit Shemesh, a massive fire has caught hold in the large forest in the Nahal Sorek area adjacent to the city, which is located to the west of Jerusalem.
The blaze is spreading out of control, as no fewer than 20 firefighting crews from the Beit Shemesh and Rishon Letzion districts aided by four planes struggle to halt its advance.
A command post to direct the firefighting efforts was established near the fire. After intense fighting, the crews finally gained control over the blaze around 2:30 p.m., with the teams working to put the fires out once and for all and prevent the danger of them being rekindled.
To the east of Gaza, in the town of Mabuim which is part of the Merhavim regional council, residents were given orders to evacuate their homes after a large fire broke out in the area. Firefighting forces are on the scene combating the blaze.
In Samaria, between the communities of Sal'it and Tzur Natan, a fire broke out in a grove, prompting two firefighting crews to be deployed to fight the flames.
Local volunteers have also been called up to prepare to defend the towns, with four planes ready to be dispatched in case of necessity; the road to Sal'it has been closed to traffic.
Earlier in the day, a fire at the industrial zone of the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Atarot was brought under control by firefighting crews.
Also in Jerusalem, six people were lightly wounded from inhaling smoke during a fire near a building in the eastern neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. The six were evacuated to hospital, while the building suffered damage from the blaze.
Photos: Judea and Samaria Fire Services