Aerial support speeds up on eighth day of Turkey fires
Turkey has successfully contained 160 of 174 wildfires that have emerged mostly in the country’s southern and western coasts since July 28 as aerial support speeded up on the eight day with airplanes, helicopters and UAVs on Aug. 4.
“Sixteen airplanes, nine unmanned aerial vehicles [UAV], 51 helicopters, one unmanned aerial helicopter, 805 water tankers, and 5,200 personnel are battling with the blazes,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.
He pledged support to victims and said 2,219 farmers in five provinces, 18 districts and 78 villages have been affected.
At least eight people have also lost their lives in the wildfires.
Turkey has air support from six countries, Iran, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia, Spain and Croatia.
Two Spanish firefighting planes started operating on Aug. 3 in southwestern Turkey, assisting Turkey’s efforts to extinguish fires.
After landing at Muğla’s Dalaman Airport late Aug. 2, 27 Spanish pilots of CL-415 planes worked to fight fires in the districts of Marmaris, Milas, and Köyceğiz in coordination with Turkey’s fire management center.
The two firefighting aircraft from Ukraine arrived with a team of 14 people on Aug. 2.
The planes of the Ukraine Emergency State Service began operating in the southern province of Antalya, where fires are continuing and threatening residential areas.
Planes deployed to Gazipaşa Airport in Antalya are responding to fires in Antaly’s Manavgat, Alanya, Akseki and Gündoğmuş districts.
The planes will serve in Turkey for 10 days and have four replaceable water tanks of 2,000 liters.
The aircraft, which can discharge water from all of their tanks simultaneously, play an active role in firefighting.
Since the beginning of the operation, 34 flights have been carried out by the planes to the areas affected by the fires and 272 tons of water have been discharged.
One of the pilots, Kostiantyn Kolomin, told Anadolu Agency that he had come to Turkey on vacation before. This time, he said, he came to help battle the fires.
Kolomin said he was “sad” to see the region where he had been on holiday before to be exposed to flames now.
“We are here to help the Turkish people. We are trying to do our job in the best way possible,” he said.
Noting that it was difficult for land crews to reach the areas where the fires broke out, Kolomin said aircrews are more effective in extinguishing them.
He hoped that they can “save the Turkish people from the fires as soon as possible and we will come here for a holiday again.”
Fatih Düzgün, the pilot coordinating the Ukrainian planes, said it was a difficult task.
“We thank the friendly country Ukraine and its people for their support,” Düzgün said.
“Turkey has always supported Ukraine, and Ukraine is with Turkey today. The cooperation between the two countries will always continue,” he added.