Forest fires break out across Turkey as mercury rises

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ISTANBUL

Massive fires have broken out in Turkey’s forests as temperatures rise above seasonal normal.

Amid a sweltering heat wave in Turkey, forest fires on the country’s west and south coasts have continued over the past two days, with hundreds of hectares of forest land having already been reduced to ashes.

“About 20 fires have broken out so far, 18 of which have been brought under control,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli told reporters during his observations in the fire zone of the province. southern part of Aydıncık district in Mersin.

Twenty-one firefighting helicopters and amphibious planes took off in the early hours to fight the blaze that broke out on July 15 in Aydıncık.

More than 850 forestry workers and firefighters, including sprinklers, bulldozers, water tanks and water supply vehicles, are also trying to contain the blaze that the wind helped spread quickly in the area.

Noting that the area where the fire took place is steep and mountainous land, Demirören News Agency said heavy vehicle traffic was observed in the area due to the blaze and three houses had were evacuated as a precaution.

Pakdemirli noted that the fire affected an area of ​​around 650 hectares, but it is not possible to say that the whole area was burnt.

“We are at a point where the temperature is very high, the humidity is very low and the wind is blowing at 50 kilometers per hour in some places,” Pakdemirli said, adding that there had been no casualties or losses. of property due to the fire. until now.

Another forest fire in Hassa district of southern Hatay province, which broke out on July 15, has also been going on for two days, with 80 hectares of forest land having been reduced to ashes so far.

More than 30 sprinklers, four bulldozers, eight heavy construction vehicles and 150 people participated in the firefighting efforts.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, also participated in the efforts to extinguish the fire in Hassa.

In addition, a small-scale forest fire that broke out for unknown reasons in southern Turkey’s Antalya province on July 16 has been brought under control, a local official said.

Turkey has experienced one of the hottest days of the year since last week as a heat wave across the country caused high temperatures.

Citizens have been urged to be careful against forest fires in the Mediterranean provinces of Antalya, MuÄŸla and Mersin, where thermometers have reached 35 degrees Celsius.

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