Israeli firefighters work to contain blaze outside Jerusalem

International News

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli firefighters battled wildfires near Jerusalem for a second day on Monday after the blaze forced hundreds of residents from their homes.

Israel Fire and Rescue service said in a statement that 45 firefighting teams accompanied by eight planes were working to contain five fires in the forested hills west of the city. Israeli media reported that around 17 square kilometers (6.5 square miles) of forest had already burned.

Residents of several communities were evacuated from their homes on Sunday as the fire raged out of control, fueled by winds and extremely dry conditions after a hot summer.

The fire sent a plume of thick black smoke over Jerusalem. The Environmental Protection Ministry warned area residents of very high air pollution and advised against prolonged outdoor activity.

Investigators were still working to determine the cause of the fire.

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