Blaze in North burns homes, forces evacuations

Fire breaks out in Kiryat Tivon on 2nd straight day; 27 firefighting crews, planes battle blaze; police checking if arson.

Israeli Fire and Rescue Service plane 150 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israeli Fire and Rescue Service plane 150
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Firefighting crews were battling a blaze near Kiryat Tivon, south of Haifa on Thursday. Firefighting aircraft joined 27 ground crews attempting to gain control of the fire.
Police evacuated several local residents from their homes. At least two homes were damaged in the blaze, but no injuries were reported.
The local municipality opened a shelter for displaced people at the Narkisim school in Kiryat Tivon. An old age home was also evacuated.
Police are investigating the strong possibility that the fire was caused by arson, spokesman Micky Rosenfled told The Jerusalem Post.
"Emergency units are coordinating with one another to deal with the situation. There are strong winds, and we are working to get the fire under control," he added.
Police blocked off Route 75 in one direction. Heavy traffic built up on roads leading out of Tivon.
Earlier on Thursday firefighters succeeded in gaining control of a fire just outside Jerusalem near Moshav Even Sapir.
Wednesday saw firefighters battle blazes in the same areas, as well as a fire in the eastern Carmel mountains. No injuries were reported in the fires.
Police arrested four Palestinians from the West Bank that they found in the vicinity of the fire near Jerusalem on Wednesday, on suspicion of involvement in starting the blaze.
Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.