Wildfires deal blow to Turkey's tourist season


Turkey's already hard-hit tourist landscape has been dealt a blow as firefighters battle to control a spate of wildfires.

More than 100 fires blazing near tourist destinations across Antalya and Mugla have been brought under control, but several fires continue to burn.

Six people have died in the fires, which have also seen hotels and villages evacuated as residents and firefighters battle to save their homes and crops.

In Antalya, the fires burned in the Manavgat and Gundogmus districts. In Mugla, they affected Marmaris, Koycegiz and Milas. To tackle the blazes, helicopters and aeroplanes were deployed, as well as drones, police water cannons and firefighters on the ground.

Tourists were evacuated from their hotels in Bodrum as a fire spread down the hillside. Coastguard units evacuated tourists via the water, asking private boats and yachts to pick up tourists and take them to safety.

In one video of the Bodrum fire filmed from the water, a man can be heard saying, "this is unbelievable, just unbelievable. How did this fire come [here] this fast in 5 minutes?".

On Saturday, minister of agriculture and forestry Bekir Pakdemirli said 91 of the 101 fires that broke out have been brought under control. Neighbourhoods affected by the fire in five provinces across Southern Turkey were declared disaster zones.

Speaking from Manavgat, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that there would be assistance for people who had lost their homes. Business owners too, would be eligible for help.

"We cannot do anything beyond wishing the mercy of God for the lives we have lost but we can replace everything that was burned," he said.

The wildfire conditions have been caused by climbing temperatures across Southern Europe, fed by dry winds from Africa. Italy and Greece are also battling fires.


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