Turkish authorities evacuate holiday resorts as forest fire spreads in Antalya
DHA photoScores of people are being evacuated from two neighborhoods in Turkey’s popular Mediterranean destination of Antalya, as a massive forest fire has spread from Adrasan towards the little-known getaway of Olimpos, which is admired by alternative holiday seekers.
The fire which initially started on June 24 in the Kumluca district of Antalya was rekindled on June 26 in the district’s resort town of Adrasan – one of the few sites on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast to escape the construction boom which has blighted nearby sandy beaches.
Two helicopters and one plane were used to fight the fire in addition to fire squads from the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality and the Regional Forestry Directorate.
Despite additional support from forestry workers and villagers, efforts to fight the fire were being hampered by the wind, causing authorities to decide to evacuate the nearby holiday resorts in Adrasan and neighboring Olimpos as a precaution.
“The fire is spreading very quickly. We can’t predict which direction the fire will jump to because of the wind. That’s why we are evacuating the Olimpos area,” Kumluca District Governor Polat Kara told the press, imploring citizens to cooperate.
Olimpos is a well-protected area located within the borders of a national park, where concrete is not allowed. It was discovered some 30 years ago by people backpacking around the world. It is a notable and attractive location as tourists need to walk through the remains of the 2,200-year-old ancient city of Olympos (Lycia), to go to the beach.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Kumluca said it was “thought-provoking” that a second fire erupted soon after the first one, saying arson was a possibility.
Kumluca Mayor Hüsamettin Çetinkaya underlined that both fires erupted in very valuable areas of Kumluca, adding they were also regions that were hard to intervene for the fire squad.
A thorough investigation was necessary to reach a conclusion, Çetinkaya said.
A fire destroyed some 125 hectares of forests in Kumluca’s Adrasan Bay in 2014, spreading fears that tourism facilities would be built in the area destroyed by the fire.
The claims were dismissed by Çetinkaya, as he underlined he would “never allow” something of the kind.