Three hectares of forest reduced to ash in fire near touristic Ayvalık in western Turkey
AYVALIKA forest fire that broke out on Aug. 17 has reduced to ash around three hectares of forest land in the Ayvalık district of the western province of Balıkesir.
The fire broke out on Ayvalık’s Hakkıbey peninsula at around 4:00 p.m. before spreading over a larger area due to strong winds.
The head of the local Forestry Directorate, Metin Kırcı, said the cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
“This whole region is significant in terms of tourism. We want to bring the fire under control before it threatens residential areas,” Kırcı said.
Four helicopters, 32 sprinklers, three dozers and number of fire crews were dispatched to the scene to fight the fire.
The fire was brought under control after a couple of hours, but not before three hectares of forest land, hosting mostly pine trees, was reduced to ash.
Locals living near the site of the fire, who had evacuated their homes, started to return.
Ayvalık Deputy Mayor Gökay Bacan said a great disaster was avoided.
“We all intervened together. Fire crews from the Balıkesir Municipality, sprinklers, and dozers from the Ayvalık Municipality, helicopters and airplanes were put into action and a great disaster was prevented. The fire has been brought under control and the cooling operation is still ongoing,” Bacan said.
He also said they could not yet identify the cause of the fire.
“A cigarette butt probably caused the fire. There is no loss of life or property. Only woodland areas were burned,” he added.
Meanwhile, another forest fire erupted in the Aegean province of Muğla on Aug. 18.
Five hectares of shrub land were reduced to ash due to the fire, which fire crews struggled to fight due to the rugged terrain in Muğla’s resort town Bodrum.
The fire was brought under control within three hours. The cause of the fire remains unclear.
Additionally, another fire broke out again in Muğla, this time in its Yatağan district on Aug. 17. The fire that started in a garbage dump in Bozüyük neighborhood and then spread over to a nearby maquis shurbland was extinguished at the same time.
Muğla regional forest directorate’s two fire extinguishing helicopters, six street-sprinklers, four water trucks, two first responder vehicles, 40 fire extinguishing workers, as well as the Muğla Municipality’s four fire trucks took part in the extinguishing efforts.
Although the fire could be extinguished in a short period of time, one hectare of maquis shrubland was reduced to ashes.