Turkey: The fire continues to rage in the southwest of the country

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Firefighters are currently fighting from the ground and air to contain a forest fire in southwestern Turkey, as hopes that it was reduced were dashed after the fire front was rekindled again due to high temperatures and winds.

The images from the forest fire near the seaside resort of Marmaris, raised fears of a repeat of last year’s fires that destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres in the area.

Images taken by Reuters show smoke rising from hills and police vehicles using water pumps to help firefighters try to put out the blaze as the fire spread through a forest in the sparsely populated area.

Helicopters and planes pounded the flames throughout the day, and authorities said they would resume today after a halt overnight.

The causes of the fire, which broke out around 20:00 local time (and Greek time) the day before yesterday, Tuesday, have not been clarified.

Forest Minister Vahit Kirisci said yesterday that the fire had been brought under control, but later announced that it had spread again, after it was rekindled by winds and heat.

About 150 people were evacuated from 51 homes for precautionary measures, he said, adding that about 2,600 people were fighting to contain the blaze.

The Turkish Forest Service also announced that 27 helicopters and 14 planes will take part in the firefighting efforts today.

Human-induced climate change has made heat waves more likely and more serious, scientists say.

Forest fires in Turkey last summer, most of which also broke out near Marmaris, were the most intense the country has ever encountered, the EU’s climate watchdog said last year, adding that the Mediterranean has become “hot spot” of forest fires.

The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticized for not being prepared to put out last year’s fires. She responded by saying that they were the worst in the history of Turkey.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Wednesday that the government was “incompetent” and had not prepared for the fires since last year.

“Everyone knows how sensitive the Mediterranean basin is to this issue due to climate change,” Kilicdaroglu said in a statement from an area near Marmaris.

“They will put the blame on the wind and not on themselves,” he said.

SOURCE: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

Source: Capital

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