Three dead as forest fire rages in southern Turkey


ISTANBUL -Three people were found dead as a forest fire burned for a second day in southern Turkey on Thursday, FASHION the disaster agency and the agriculture minister said.

Efforts to rescue others and put out the blaze continued after more than 100 people were evacuated, required medical attention or sustained property damage.

TV footage showed buildings set on fire and people fleeing across fields as firefighters backed by helicopters battled fires that were in some cases near tourist destinations.

The hot weather and strong winds caused the fires to spread around the town of Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of the resort town of Antalya, and neighboring villages.

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said an 82-year-old man was found dead during the evacuation of Kepezbeleni, 16 km northeast of Manavgat, and two people were found dead in Degirmenli, in 20 km east of Manavgat.

One plane, one drone, 19 helicopters, around 250 vehicles and 960 people were involved in the firefighting efforts.

“Houses located in areas that could be impacted by the fire have been evacuated. Several houses, offices, farms, agricultural fields, greenhouses and vehicles were damaged by the fire ”, FASHION noted.

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts from Antalya while another 16 villages were evacuated to neighboring Adana and Mersin provinces, Pakdemirli said. Authorities evacuated a Manavgat hospital.

Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast is known for its scorching summer heat, which often causes forest fires. Authorities said the latest fires were the largest to date.

Pakdemirli said there have been 41 forest fires in 13 of Turkey’s 81 provinces since Tuesday, 31 of which were under control. The flames in Osmaniye and Kayseri were still burning.

TV footage showed a separate fire raging in the hills near a residential area in the Aegean resort town of Marmaris.

Turkey has battled a series of disasters caused by extreme weather conditions this summer, including flash floods last week that killed six people in the Black Sea region.


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