Forest fires rage in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — Forest fires raced through more than a dozen homes in northern and central Israel for a third day Monday, forcing officials to evacuate three villages in what has been described as the biggest series of fires in the country’s history.
No fatalities or serious injuries were reported. At least 10 fires were reported, although no exact count on the number of blazes was available.
The biggest fire was on the slopes of the Carmel range, south of Haifa, Israel’s third-biggest city. Firefighters said it was even bigger than Sunday’s blaze in the Carmel forest on the outskirts of Haifa, which claimed 1,250 acres.
It was unclear, however, how many acres were burned Monday.
With temperatures hovering at 90 degrees accompanied by high winds, the blaze spread to the picturesque artist’s village of Ein Hod, the nearby Arab village of Ein Chud and the communal village of Nir Etzion in the Carmel forest. All three villages were evacuated.
Fourteen houses in Ein Hod were destroyed or damaged. Some historic homes were damaged in nearby Zichron Yaacov.
Authorities suspect that a fire in the Jerusalem hills was started deliberately, Police Commissioner Yehuda Wilk said. Most of the other fires are believed to be the result of negligence.