Three people were killed in a forest fire in southern Turkey on Thursday, where authorities were battling multiple blazes.
According to Agriculture and Forestry Minister of Turkey, Bekir Pakdemirli, a wildfire that broke out Wednesday near the Mediterranean town of Manavgat in Antalya province had been largely contained. However, another fire broke out early Thursday and swept through the Akseki district, some 50 kilometers to the north.
Dozens of villages and hotels were evacuated, and television footage showed burnt buildings and people fleeing across fields as firefighters on the ground and in helicopters battled a blaze in Manavgat, 75 kilometers (45 miles) east of Antalya’s Mediterranean resort.
Fires broke out in sixteen other locations on Thursday, including the Icmeler region near the resort of Marmaris, threatening holiday homes and hotels.
More than 60 wildfires have erupted across 17 provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, according to officials, with the presidency vowing to hold those responsible accountable for the “attacks.”
According to AFAD, 36 of the wildfires have been contained, but firefighting efforts for the remaining 17 are ongoing, with more than 140 people requiring treatment or suffering property damage.
An 82-year-old man was discovered dead during the evacuation of Kepezbeleni, 16 kilometers northeast of Manavgat, and two people were discovered dead in Degirmenli, 20 kilometers east of Manavgat, according to Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.
The Turkish presidential communications director, Fahrettin Altun, stated that “comprehensive investigations” had been launched.
“Those responsible for the attacks on nature and forests will be held accountable,” Altun said on Twitter.
As fires spread around Manavgat, Turkey on Wednesday, fanned by strong winds in hot weather, 18 villages and districts in Antalya, as well as 16 others in neighboring provinces of Adana and Mersin, were evacuated. Authorities also evacuated a hospital in Manavgat.
The blaze forced the evacuation of buildings, including a hotel, in the Aegean resort of Marmaris, according to state broadcaster TRT Haber. Footage showed two separate fires near residential areas in the Aegean summer hotspots of Bodrum and Didim.
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