UPDATE: Shortly after 6:00 p.m. local time Thursday, the fire in Ramot has, baruch Hashem, been declared under control by firefighters.
Our original story appears below.
Large numbers of firefighters were battling a large blaze in the Ramot forest north of Yerushalayim, Thursday afternoon. The fire was spreading rapidly as hot weather and high winds exacerbated the situation. Many residents have been evacuated, and officials may evacuate more if the flames are not brought under control soon. Fourteen firefighting teams are being assisted by eight planes spraying water on the blaze. Some residents have been treated for smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire is being investigated. Officials are concerned that the cause may have been a Lag BaOmer bonfire that was not properly extinguished.
A second large fire was burning in northern Israel, outside of Karmiel.
Over the past 24 hours, officials said, some 200 fires were reported.