İzmir municipality to launch reforestation campaign for burned areas
Tunç Soyer, the mayor of the Aegean province of İzmir, has announced that the city’s metropolitan municipality will start a reforestation campaign for burned forest areas in the province following devastating fires that broke out in two districts.
“We will start works by digging dibbles for each of our municipality staff. We’ll not open even one square meter of the burned places. We are ready to initiate a campaign for the reforestation of the relevant places and take responsibility. We will convey our demand to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and ask for their approval,” Soyer said.
On Aug. 18, forest fires broke out in two different districts of İzmir, Karabağlar and Urla. The fires in the Karabağlar district shortly expanded, reaching Seferihisar and Menderes districts.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli previously announced that the Karabağlar fire had burned some 500 hectares of land. But Soyer disagreed with the minister, saying the damage was huger, with over 5,000 hectares of land being burnt.
“The areas burned in the fire had been announced as 500 hectares, but our evaluations show that over 5,000 hectares of land have been burned. When we look at the history of İzmir, it is not wrong to say that this fire is one of the biggest fires of the province,” Soyer said.
Soyer said that the municipality of İzmir, the third largest province in Turkey by population, is organizing a gathering in the burned area on Aug. 30 with the participation of citizens. The officials will listen to the citizens’ suggestions there and demands on how to protect the forested areas.
“We will later evaluate İzmir locals’ ideas at the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Council, which is the biggest decision-making mechanism [of the province]. We will take decisions about the future of İzmir,” Soyer said, adding that they will convey these decisions to the provincial governor’s office.
“We are looking forward to Aug. 30. We want to take decisions at that place that will affect İzmir’s future,” he said.