Wildfires blaze on in Turkey as criticism grows

Istanbul: Firefighters using planes and helicopters, and locals with buckets of water, battled wildfires raging for a sixth day near southern resorts in drought-hit Turkey and the government faced fresh criticism of its handling of the disaster.

Seven fires were still burning on Monday, fanned by temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F), strong winds and low humidity, Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.

Huge flames engulfed trees on a hillside near the coastal resort of Marmaris, images filmed by Reuters showed, while drone footage revealed a grey landscape nearby where fires had left smouldering buildings and blackened tree trunks.

While 16 planes and 51 helicopters tackled the blazes across a swathe of southwest Turkey, villagers carrying water containers up a hill to fight a fire near Marmaris said the government was not doing enough to help them.

We are here as the entire village, from the locals to others. We didn’t run or anything, so the government must see this and also not run away. It must send some of its planes here, a woman called Gulhan told Reuters.

The heatwave exacerbating the fires comes after months of exceptionally dry weather in Turkey’s southwest, according to maps issued by meteorological authorities.

 

Agency