At least three people dead as forest fires spread across southern Turkey

Translated by Leo Kendrick

A fire broke out in the forested areas of Antalya-Manavgat yesterday, 28 July. Nearby neighborhoods were evacuated as the fire approached the Manavgat city center. According to an announcement by AFAD, Turkey’s disaster-response ministry, 3 people lost their lives in the fires, 122 people were affected, and 58 people are undergoing treatment. Following Manavgat, fires broke out in Adana, Osmaniye, Kayseri, and Mersin. Residents in all four provinces were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure. A new outbreak of fire was also seen today in Muğla’s Marmaris district as response teams continue to battle blazes.

The fires in Manavgat began simultaneously in four separate regions and quickly approached the city center with the help of strong winds. Response teams attempted to keep the burning under control as houses in neighboring districts were evacuated in accordance with precautionary measures. Evrenseki, Kalemler, Çolaklı, and Yeniköy neighborhoods were all affected by the fires.

According to our correspondent in Antalya Mehmet Selçuk Ada, most homes in the Kalemler neighborhood were reduced to ash, many animals could not be saved, and agricultural areas saw significant damage. Electricity was also cut throughout the region.

The cause of the fires is still unknown. Turkey’s disaster response ministry, AFAD, released a written statement about the fires. AFAD announced that as a result of the burning, 3 people had lost their lives, 122 had been affected, and 58 people were undergoing treatment. 

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli announced that as a result of poor air quality, the numerous disaster response teams deployed in the region were making slow progress fighting the outbreaks. Some neighborhoods and villages could not be reached by the teams. “41 fires have broken out in 13 of our municipalities,” announced Pakdemirli, “31 have been taken under control, while 10 are ongoing. 18 villages and neighborhoods in Antalya, 6 villages in Adana-Kozan, Mersin-Aydıncık municipality and 5 of their villages have all been evacuated.”

The fire spread as far as the Manavgat-Oymapınar Dam where 10 people were left stranded. Manavgat district governor Mustafa Yiğit announced later that these 10 individuals had been rescued. 

According to information from Anadolu Agency, overland fire response continued through the night. An outbreak in Akseki Municipality around midnight caused fires to once again jump to Manavgat, aided by strong winds. Due to the fires, some homes in Akseki’s Kepezbeleni neighborhood, as well as Manavgat’s Karavca, Güzelyalı, Saraçlı, Çeltikçi, and Ulukapı neighborhoods had to be evacuated. 

Akseki district governor Volkan Hülür told Anadolu Agency; “Due to the fires the Kepezbeleni route has been closed, and 13 people in the neighborhood were stranded. With the efforts of our firefighters and police teams, 12 individuals were rescued. 82 year old resident Hasan Ali Yüksel lost his life due to effects from the smoke. 80% of houses in this neighborhood have been burned.”

The route between Akseki and Manavgat was closed to traffic. The fire in Manavgat was taken under control while efforts to contain the Akseki fire are ongoing. 

NASA released the following aerial image of the Manavgat fire:

The fire outbreak in Adana could not be taken under control, villages have been evacuated

A fire broke out around 19.45 yesterday (28 July) in the Kizlarsekisi Mevkii forest area of Adana-Kozan district. The fire has not yet been brought under control. Due to the fire, houses in Savruk plateau and some surrounding areas were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Many teams were sent by the municipality and the ministry to fight the fires in the region, but poor air quality conditions have limited their progress in containing the blazes. 
Adana Governor Süleyman Elban stated that citizens in five villages were evacuated due to the fire, and preparations were being made in two other villages. Elban said the cause of the fire was unknown in the following statement:

“The fire has threatened an area in which seven villages are located. We evacuated five villages immediately, and are preparing to evacuate two more. Most of the evacuees have houses in the Kozan district center. The citizens we evacuated expressed their desire to go to their own homes. However, we opened our boarding schools and dormitories belonging to schools in our Kozan district. Therefore, if the need arises, we will also direct our citizens there. On the one hand, we are fighting the fire. Since it is night, we cannot intervene from the air, but at the first light of the morning, we will start to fight the fire from the air. We have drones patrolling the situation from above, and we are determining the dimensions and coordinates of the fire.”

Response to fire outbreaks in Mersin

Efforts to extinguish fire outbreaks in Mersin’s Aydıncık and Bozyazı districts continue. Houses in the neighborhoods of both districts were evacuated before the morning as a precaution. High winds have hampered efforts to contain the fire.

Fire broke out not only in Aydıncık and Bozyazı but also in Mersin’s Silifke forested area as well. The cause of the fire, which broke out in a forested area near the Boğsak locality, has not yet been determined. Efforts by crews to contain the fire continue.

Five suspects detained due to fire in Osmaniye

In Osmaniye, a fire broke out in a forested area near the Dereobası locality yesterday. Houses in Ürün and Olukbaşı plateaus were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The fire was brought under control overnight. Today, five suspects were detained due to the fire in the early morning hours.

NASA captured forest fires in Antalya, Adana, Osmaniye and Mersin from the air:

Another fire broke out today in a forested area of Muğla’s Marmaris district. While the cause of this fire in the Armutalan neighborhood is not yet known, teams are fighting the blazes both from the air and from the ground. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli, on his Twitter account, said “We are responding to the forest fire in Marmaris with 30 sprinklers, 5 helicopters and an airplane. Our prayers are with the heroes of the forest.”

Click here to view Medyascope‘s Turkish-language coverage of the fires in southern Turkey. 

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