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(photo credit: channel 2)
Wildfires spread through northern Israel for a third day in a row on Thursday, and firefighters have blamed arsonists for some of the most major incidents.
Firefighters in the western Galilee were called out to the Gilon region to tackle a large blaze late Thursday afternoon.
"This looks like arson. There are a number of fire centers located far from one another, and this is one of the telltale signs of arson," Western Galilee Firefighters Spokesman Smulik Franco told The Jerusalem Post Thursday evening.
"But because of the number of incidents we have been called out to in recent days, we can't even investigate the fires, because we're jumping from one blaze to the next," he added.
Six fire crews and two planes were mobilized to douse the Galilee blaze, which at its height threatened homes in the area. "We prevented the fire from spreading towards the houses," Franco said, adding that by nightfall the fire was expected to be out.
Earlier on Thursday, fires broke out in a forest near Nazareth Illit and the village of Ilut.
Kibbutz Alumot, south of Lake Kinneret, was the scene of another fire which spread to the outskirts of the village of Nahamia before being put out by nine fire fighting crews from Tiberias. Large swaths of orchards went up in smoke as a result.
Rami Zaritzki, who oversees forest protection on behalf of the Jewish National Fund, said more areas in the North had been engulfed by flames in recent days than the fires caused by rockets fired by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War of 2006.
In the South, a fire broke out in a garbage dump in the Negev due to the burning of tires, with the smoke reaching the Beersheba area.
A barrel factory in Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, north of Netanya, was the scene of yet another fire. Netanya firefighters were called to the area and doused the flames. The factory sustained some damage in the incident.
Police are investigating a number of blazes which broke out on Wednesday. A metal welder had already been blamed for accidentally sparking a blaze near Rosh Pina, while officers are still looking into a fire which tore through Wadi Ara.