Thousands of Israelis Evacuated as Fire Rages Out of Control

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Israeli emergency services evacuated thousands of people from towns and villages on Thursday.

There was a deadly fire, raging out of control on the hills approaching the city of Haifa.

The forest fire killed about 40 people.

Israel called on Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Russia to send aircrafts to help battle the blaze.

The fire was raging on Mount Carmel for more then seven hours, after it began around midday.

Local fire services mobilized emergency crews across the country. Fire trucks tried desperately to reach the scene, rushing through heavy rush hour traffic as night fell.

At least two thousand people have been evacuated from local towns and villages. Meanwhile the flames were leaping through the dense pine woodland, fanned by the winds of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sigalit Revah was enjoying a holiday with her family at a local hotel before being evacuated.

[Sigalit Revah, Evacuee]:
"A bit of pressure, everyone is being evacuated, everyone is very pressured. Let's hope it will stop tonight, God willing."

A worker at a local hotel, Eyal Elzam, said there was an order to evacuate the entire village of Ein Hod.

[Eyal Elzam, Worker at a Local Hotel]:
"All [hotel] workers were evacuated, probably to their homes. And that's it. There is an order to evacuate the whole village. It is going to be evacuated right now."

Israeli media said it was the biggest forest fire in the country's history. Some seven thousand acres of land were destroyed.

Israel has experienced unreasonably hot weather for months, and the driest November in 60 years.

This means the flames were able to spread quickly through the tinder-dry countryside.

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