Turkey wildfires: Eight dead as blazes sweep through tourist resorts

By Joshua Nevett
BBC News

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Media caption,
People are forced to flee popular coastal resorts in Turkey

At least eight people have been killed in wildfires that have ripped through southern Turkey, ravaging coastal resorts and forcing tourists to flee.

The blazes have been raging for six days as Turkey grapples with its worst fire crisis in a decade.

On Monday Turkish authorities said more than 130 blazes had been contained as firefighting efforts continued.

Elsewhere, firefighters are trying to contain wildfires in parts of Greece, Spain and Italy.

Italy's national fire service said it had to deal with more than 1,500 flare-ups across the country on Sunday.

In the eastern city of Pescara, at least five people were injured after a fire forced the evacuation of hundreds from beach resorts and homes.

In Greece, five villages have been evacuated in the Peloponnese region, where temperatures are expected to reach up to 45C this week.

Strong winds and soaring heatwave temperatures across southern Europe have fuelled the destructive fires. Experts say climate change increases both the frequency and intensity of such blazes.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Wildfires have torn through forests in southern Turkey, leaving the land scorched

The worst fires have occurred along Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts - a major tourist region.

Over the weekend dramatic videos showed tourists being evacuated from beach resorts by boat, with Turkish Coastguard vessels involved in rescue operations.

Satellite photos showed vast burnt forests after nearly 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) were consumed by flames.

Turkish media said firefighters in planes and helicopters resumed their operations in the south-western towns of Marmaris and Koycegiz on Monday.

Resident Susan Dogan told the BBC she could see "smoke, flames and helicopters overhead" from her home in the village of Turunc, about 20km (12 miles) from Marmaris.

The British expatriate said many residents had already left and that she had packed bags in case she needed to evacuate.

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Emergency rescue boats were on standby along the Marmaris shoreline to evacuate anyone should the fires spread and the town be cut off.

On Sunday the European Union said it would send water-carrying planes to help douse blazes tearing through forests in Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu thanked the EU for sending a plane from Croatia and two from Spain.

The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised for the shortage of firefighting aircraft in the country.

Visiting the town of Manavgat over the weekend, Mr Erdogan said his government would do whatever it takes to help those affected.

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