Wildfires Raging Across Southern Turkey Prompt Evacuations, 4 Dead and 58 Hospitalized
This wildfire season has been a severe one for many parts of the world. From Pacific Northwest to Siberia, wildfires have ravaged forests and human settlements in their path. A recent outbreak of wildfires across parts of Southern Turkey over the past couple of days has killed at least four, injured over 50 people, and prompted residents and tourists to evacuate villages, towns and some of the country’s most popular resort areas.
Authorities have said that they had been combating nearly 60 fires across 17 provinces as temperatures increased and strong winds fueled the flames. By July 29, hundreds of rescue workers were still trying to contain at least 20 fires, using dozens of planes, helicopters and drones.
Reportedly, the deadliest blaze was seen in Manavgat, about 40 miles east of the city of Antalya, where an 82-year old man and a married couple perished in their homes. Toward the west, tourists had to be evacuated by boat as the fire approached famous establishments in the resort town of Bodrum.
Another fire that started early Thursday, swept through the district of Akseki, where firefighters were trying to contain the flames. About 80 percent of the houses were incinerated in Akseki’s Kepezbeleni neighborhood.
According to Pakdemirli, the forest minister,
At the moment, there is no immediate threat to any settlement or to life, but in the hours to come, if the wind changes direction, we will need to take additional precautions.
Several homes, businesses, crops, and vehicles have perished in the fires in Manavgat, while many have sustained damage.
Firefighters were also trying to contain wildfires in other regions of Turkey, including one that temporarily closed a highway connecting the southern Turkish cities of Mersin and Antalya.
Although wildfires are common in the country’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer months, some forest fires have been blamed on arson. Meanwhile, the authorities are investigating the exact cause of recent fires.