Three killed by forest fires in Turkey as homes evacuated near southern coast

Three killed by forest fires in Turkey as homes evacuated near southern coast

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An aerial photo shows destroyed houses in a village near the coastal town of Manavgat.  Copyright  Suat Metin/IHA via AP

At least three people have been killed in southern Turkey as two forest fires rage near tourist coastal regions.

Dozens of others were also hospitalised with burns after flames ravaged houses in the Kalemler district.

A wildfire that broke out Wednesday near the Mediterranean town of Manavgat, in Antalya province, had largely been contained, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.

But another fire started early on Thursday and swept through the district of Akseki, some 50 kilometres further north.

Three people were killed in the fires, and authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts.

The dead included an 82-year-old person in Akseki’s Kepezbeleni neighbourhood, where some 80% of the houses were incinerated, the district’s governor told the state-run Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish government’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said that at least 112 people were “affected” by the fires, including 58 who were hospitalised, mostly for smoke inhalation and burns.

Authorities also rescued 10 people who were stranded on a boat at the Oymapinar dam near Akseki.

AFAD said several homes, businesses, crops, and vehicles were damaged in Manavgat, without giving further details. The cause of the forest fire was not immediately clear.

Fires also broke out Thursday in sixteen other locations, including in the Icmeler region, close to the resort of Marmaris, that briefly threatened holiday homes and hotels.

A hotel in the Aegean beach resort of Guvercinlik, near the town of Bodrum, was also evacuated, Pakdemirli said.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidential communications director, said “comprehensive investigations” had been launched.

“Those responsible will have to account for the attacks against nature and forests,” Altun said Twitter.

Arif Kaplan/IHA via AP
The fire has destroyed several homes in Kalemler district.Arif Kaplan/IHA via AP

“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,” Pakdemirli, the forest minister, told reporters.

The Antalya region is a popular vacation destination for tourists from Russia and other parts of Europe, but none of the holiday resorts were affected by the fires, officials said.

Hundreds of forestry workers, aided by helicopters and a plane, are trying to bring the fire under control. The Russian embassy also on Thursday that three water bombers were assisting in the firefighting operations.

“All necessary support will be given to our citizens who suffered from the fire,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday evening, promising a thorough investigation.

Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the arid summer months, although some forest fires have been blamed on arson.


Copyright © AP News

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The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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