All 147 forest fires over past three days now under control: Minister
ANKARAA total of 147 forest fires, which erupted across Turkey in the last three days and destroyed 673 hectares of land, have been brought under control, Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said on July 4, urging citizens to properly clean up areas in forests after having picnic.
“[The fire] leaps to the closest forest with winds. Right now, our forestry teams are continuing their firefighting efforts,” he said before an official opening ceremony in the Turkish capital Ankara.
“[People] are having picnics, but they should at least extinguish the [picnic] fire. They should not throw away broken bottles and glass pieces. These are exposed to sunlight and cause fire in places with low humidity level,” he said.
Eroğlu also said the ministry was undertaking efforts to afforest the burned lands. “We do not allocate burned places for any purpose, and will afforest them within one year. Let no one doubt that. The existence of forested areas in Turkey is not diminishing,” he said.
Some 87 percent of forest fires break out due to negligence and carelessness. Let us be sensitive toward forest fires and not burn our future with our hands,” he said in a message on Twitter regarding the fires on July 3.
Amid a sweltering heatwave in Turkey, forest fires in the country’s western and southern coasts have been ongoing for the past four days, with hundreds of hectares of forest land already burnt to ashes.
A fire that started in the Menderes district of the Aegean province of İzmir on July 1 was reported to be brought under control, but leaving around 800 hectares of forest land burned to ashes.
In Denizli, another Aegean province, firefighting teams continued their efforts on July 4 to smother the fire, which started a day earlier in its Sarayköy district. A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Denizli deputy told reporters that although it was not yet certain, officials believed that more than 150 hectares of forest land were burned to ashes in the area.
Elsewhere, various forest fires in the Mediterranean province of Antalya were also brought under control on July 3, according to Antalya Governor Münir Karaloğlu.
Karaloğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency that fires had erupted in the Alanya district at eight different points and one in Kaş district. “In the fires that broke out at eight different points in Alanya, 1,000 hectares of forest lands and in the fire that broke out in Kaş, 100 hectares of land were destroyed. Other smaller ones were quenched in immediate interventions,” Karaloğlu said on July 3.
In another fire that broke out in the Ezine district of the western province of Çanakkale on July 2, some 30 hectares of forest land were burned to ashes. Officials said the fire was brought under control on July 3, about 30 hours after it began.