Firefighters have reined in a blaze that spread across Israel's third-largest city of Haifa and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says some 14 small fires were still raging on Friday in several spots around the country.

He says a small village in the forests near Jerusalem was evacuated overnight. Overall, five people have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

The blazes began three days ago at the Neve Shalom community near Jerusalem. Backed by dry, windy weather, they later spread elsewhere near Jerusalem.

Fires also raged in the northern area of Zichron Yaakov. There have been no casualties but hundreds of homes have been damaged.

The country's leaders have raised the possibility that Arab assailants had intentionally set the blazes.