Wildfires swept Turkey, four dead, forced evacuation | Environmental News
After dozens of villages and some hotels were evacuated, thousands of firefighters fought the fire for the third day in a row. The death toll from wildfires in Turkey has risen to four.
According to local officials, about 70 wildfires occurred in 17 provinces along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of the country this week, affected by strong winds and extreme heat.
The Turkish government announced that as of Friday morning, 57 of these fires had been controlled or completely extinguished.
But Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said that fires in Osmaniyah, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya provinces are still raging.
He added that fires are still burning in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya and the Aegean resort of Mugla province.
Pakdemirli said: “We hope to control some fires starting this morning. Although we are cautious to say that they are improving, we still cannot say that they are under control.”
Villages and some hotels were evacuated in areas with more tourists. TV footage showed people watching the fire approaching their homes and fleeing the fields.
Pakdemirli said that three planes, nine drones, 38 helicopters, 680 fire trucks and 4,000 people are involved in the ongoing fire fighting.
Russia has sent three huge planes, and neighboring Greece is also fighting wildfires, saying that it is “ready to help.”
Turkish officials have promised to bring to justice anyone found responsible for causing the fire.
‘A rain of ashes’
In Manavgat, a city on the Mediterranean coast 75 kilometers (45 miles) east of Antalya, ground firefighters and helicopters were extinguishing the fire, killing three people.
Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum stated that 27 communities were evacuated due to the fire in the area. A hospital was also evacuated.
Local resident Gulen Dede Tekin arrived at a hotel in Manavgat with his family on Thursday morning and described the unfolding scene to AFP.
“At night, when they cut off the hotel’s electricity and ventilation equipment, we realized the seriousness of the matter,” he said. “This morning, we woke up in a grey rain.”
After the three major fires of Zhou Dynasty began to spread near Manavgat, some areas of Adana and Mersin were also evacuated.
Meanwhile, one person was found dead in the Mulla Marmaris area, 290 kilometers (180 miles) west of Manavgat on Thursday.
Pakdemirli said that the fire in Marmaris is still going on, but there is no danger in the residential area. Buildings in the area, including a hotel, have been evacuated.
Two separate fires broke out near the Aegean summer hotspot in Bodrum, Mugla province, and Didim, in Aydin province.
Local authorities stated that wildfires have also broken out in other parts of the region. In the past 24 hours, more than 40 wildfires in Greece have been burned by strong winds and high temperatures.
On Tuesday, a fire swept through a pine forest north of the capital Athens, destroying more than a dozen houses before the fire was brought under control.
The Greek authorities warned the public on Friday against unnecessary actions and stated that the risk of wildfires is high during the “dangerous” heat wave that is expected to peak next week.
This week, fires in the mountains of northern Lebanon also destroyed large pine forests, killing at least one firefighter, and some residents were forced to flee.