A large brush fire broke out near Jerusalem on Tuesday prompting emergency forces to temporarily close Highway 1 and evacuate residents in nearby communities from their homes.
At least 14 fire-fighting teams assisted by six aircraft were deployed near Shoresh and Sho'eva as crews attempted to keep the flames away from houses, only 100 meters (300 yards) away, as more than 60 homes were evacuated.
a summer camp housing a group of 850 teenagers, a gas station and a nearby shopping center was also evacuated as police and firefighters urged the public to adhere to instructions in order to stay safe.
Head of the Yehuda headquarters council, Niv Weisel said he would is providing assistance and lodging for residents forced out of their homes. "We are working as fast as we can to extinguish the fire," he said.
The fire broke out as Israel was in the midst of an unusually extreme heat wave that is expected to last into next week. An official with Magen David Adom told Kan public radio in an interview on Tuesday that the danger posed by the meteorological event was in its duration and in the fact that the temperatures remained unusually high throughout the day and night hours.
Fire and Rescue services warned the hot and dry conditions would contribute to the spread of fires. The service's chief Dedi Simhi instructed his forces to prepare for a surge of fires.
He also signed an order banning hikers and others visiting wooded areas, from lighting bonfires that could ignite surrounding brush and trees and spread quickly - under the threat of steep fines.