Turkish authorities tackle blazes fanned by winds in southwest

A forest fire has broken out in Turkey’s tourist town of Datca, forcing some 2,400 people to evacuate the area.

Image Credit: Joachim Pressl on Unsplash

By Reuters, Team MEB

Turkish authorities kept up efforts to contain a wildfire in the southwestern Datca peninsula on Thursday, as strong winds overnight fanned the flames and forced some 2,400 people to evacuate the area.

Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci said preliminary evaluations showed the fire broke out at a transformer in the area and up to 600 hectares of land was affected so far.

He said strong winds made it more difficult to contain the blaze, which broke out around midday on Wednesday.

“What makes our job a little more difficult is the wind effect, the direction and intensity of which are unpredictable,” he said early on Thursday.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 19 people had been affected by the fire and nine of them were still being treated as of Thursday morning. Some 2,400 people were evacuated as a precaution, Kirisci said.

Authorities said 10 planes and 20 helicopters, including one that can operate at night, were involved in the efforts to douse the flames.

Countries like France and Portugal – suffering from a second heatwave in as many months – have been hit by a series of wildfires over the last few weeks. Scientists say human-induced climate change is making heatwaves more likely and more severe.

The blazes in southwestern Turkey conjured memories of last year’s summer fires which ravaged 140,000 hectares (345,950 acres) of countryside, the worst on record.

A suspected deliberate fire in June destroyed 4,500 hectares of forest land nearby, prompting members of the opposition to criticise the government for not being sufficiently prepared even after last year’s fires.

Another fire that broke out in the Aegean resort town of Cesme was contained on Thursday morning, the forestry authority said.

Tags : Turkey