A large brushfire broke out on Thursday afternoon on the eastern slopes of Mount Carmel,
near the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood in Haifa.
Nearly three hours after the blaze had started, firefighters in the northern city said they have managed to contain the flames.
Some 15 firefighting crews were deployed to scene to battle the flames, and were joined by two firefighting planes.
Residential areas were not in the path of the fire, although heavy smoke wafted into the adjacent neighborhoods. The police initially closed all major roads in the region, but later reopened most of them, save for Solomon and Gdalyahu Streets.
Fire came near Haifa homes (Photo: Maor Levy)
Earlier, dozens of residents were evacuated from two apartment buildings on Solomon Street. A 62-year-old woman felt unwell, and was treated on by paramedics.
Many residents of Neve Shaanan decided to leave the neighborhood of their own accord as a precautionary measure.
Firefighting planes in Haifa (Photo: Moshiko Alenkwa)
"We're not waiting until they tell us what to do," one resident told Ynet. "When they put out the fire, we'll come home."
But a spokesman for Haifa's fire department, Yossi Ben Yossef, warned that "self-evacuation could lead to a disaster," instructing the residents to wait for the police's orders.
Smoke billowed above city (Photo: Mor Abramowsky)
Witnesses said earlier they saw the flames spreading rapidly.
"It's very windy and the fire is spreading quickly," said Levy Mor, who watched the blaze from Haifa bay.
In a recent report, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss
said that the police and the fire departments failed to sufficiently cooperate during the 2010 Carmel Forest
This time, the emergency services established a joint command center as soon as they realized that the fire was not a minor one. A police helicopter was scrambled to direct the Fire and Rescue Services from above.
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|First Published: ||07.26.12, 15:26|