Residents flee as winds incite large wildfires in southern Turkey


Ankara — According to the local mayor, a strong wind ignited a fire on Wednesday, causing a large wildfire in the town of Manavgat in southern Turkey. Television footage showed residents running in search of a car, with the streets covered in smoke.

The footage showed black smoke rising from the forest around Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of the resort city of Antalya. Mayor Skul Sozen said the flames had spread to the center of the town where many buildings were evacuated.

“The fire has spread to the center of town. It is growing further with the wind. It is impossible to determine the magnitude of the damage and the village is also damaged. “Sozen told broadcaster Haberturk.

Antalya Mayor Muhittin Bosek said the fires began at four different points. He told Habertürk that four neighborhoods had been evacuated, but no casualties had yet been reported.

Wildfire in Antalya
Taken from a social media video in Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey on July 28, 2021, this still image shows smoke from a wildfire floating on the beach. (Twitter / @ Onurburakcelik / via Reuters)

Authorities could not immediately tell the cause of the fire.

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities are fighting fire with firefighting planes, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles, and about 400 employees.

Turkey’s AFAD disaster agency said emergency teams from nearby states were also put into action while authorities were evacuating settlements near the forest.

A popular destination for both foreign and local tourists, Antalya is known for its scorching summer heat. According to Bosek, the fire that struck the pine forest was hit by extreme heat and strong winds.

A fire occurs when Turkey fights a series of disasters caused by extreme weather events in recent weeks.

Flash floods struck the Black Sea’s states of Rize and Artvin earlier this month, damaging homes and property. According to AFAD, the flood killed six people in Rize.

By Tuvan Gumrukcu